The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine and the UF Veterinary Hospitals remain open and are actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation. We are committed to patient and client safety, as well as to the safety and well-being of our entire college family – our faculty, staff, interns, residents and students. In accordance with federal, state and regional public health recommendations, as well as University of Florida guidelines, we are pleased to provide the following operational updates.
UF Health and UF Mask Policy Reminder:
In light of updated CDC guidelines from Monday, March 8, 2021, regarding masking for fully vaccinated people, it is important to reiterate that UF Health has not changed its masking policy or our approach to maintaining the safest environment possible for our patients and staff. While the CDC begins to loosen guidelines for wearing a mask indoors when a fully vaccinated person is with another who is also fully vaccinated, these guidelines are geared toward private spaces and residences. They do not adequately address a large workplace like UF Health hospitals.
As a reminder, the UF and UF Health policy requires all patients, visitors, faculty, staff, students, volunteers and vendors to wear a mask or face covering when in UF and UF Health facilities, with an exception for children under 2 years old. For more details, please find the UF mask policy here.
UF Veterinary Hospitals Updates
- The UF Veterinary Hospitals remain fully operational.
- Lobbies for all facilities remain open for check-in/check-out only. Veterinary clinicians continue to administer consultation and discharge communications via phone rather than face-to-face. Free parking is available directly in front of the UF Small Animal Hospital, UF Large Animal Hospital and UF PETS in Ocala.
- To protect all faculty, staff, students and clients, the University of Florida’s masking policy will be enforced at all times.
- The UF Veterinary Hospitals remain fully operational.
- Lobbies for all facilities remain open for check-in/check-out only. Veterinary clinicians continue to administer consultation and discharge communications via phone.
- The University of Florida’s updated masking policy requires all UF Veterinary Hospitals visitors to wear a face covering. Please note masks with exhalation valves or vents allow air to be expelled and are prohibited because they do not provide protection to others; neck gaiters and bandanas should not be worn unless no other face covering is available. You are also required to wear a face covering while outside the UF Veterinary Hospitals unless a distance of 6 feet or more is maintained at all times.
- The UF Veterinary Hospitals are open for routine appointments and procedures in addition to emergency services.
- The lobbies for the Small Animal Hospital, Large Animal Hospital, PETS Clinic in Ocala and Equine Acupuncture Center in Reddick are open for check-in/check-out only. Consultation and discharge with our veterinary clinicians will occur by phone rather than face-to-face to help maintain the safety of our faculty, staff and students.
- Face coverings are required while visiting UF Health facilities, including the UF Veterinary Hospitals.
- The UF Veterinary Hospitals have remained open throughout the coronavirus pandemic and will continue to take urgent and emergency cases. We will carefully and gradually resume operations under the guidance of executive orders issued for Florida. We plan to accommodate as many patients as safely possible and we are contacting clients who have graciously waited to have their patient examined. We will continue with curbside service for our clients.
- UF Pet Emergency Treatment Service clinic in Ocala remains staffed to handle urgent/emergent care for patients.
- UF Equine Acupuncture Center will resume appointments May 18.
- Effective immediately, the UF Veterinary Hospitals have suspended all elective appointments. The hospital remains open and will take urgent and emergency cases only for all species for a minimum of two weeks. We will continue to assess the situation and make adjustments to this timeline as needed going forward.
- Our hospitals in Gainesville and the UF Pet Emergency Treatment Service clinic in Ocala will be staffed to handle urgent/emergent care for patients in need.
- Those with appointments are in the process of being notified. All inpatients will be cared for as usual until their normal discharge is indicated.
- We are currently screening clients for illness and travel history. We have also closed our lobby and are therefore providing curbside service to allow social distancing for our clients and minimize exposure to hospital personnel.
- The UFVH Pharmacy is actively working to take care of your pets and animals. We offer in-state shipping for our hospital patients. Please call the pharmacy 352-294-4614 if you are unable to pick up at this time and would like your medication shipped to you.
- If you have questions or concerns, please contact us: UF Small Animal Hospital: 352-392-2235; UF Large Animal Hospital: 352-392-2229; UF Pet Emergency Treatment Service (Ocala): 352-512-0886.
College of Veterinary Medicine Updates
- All classes of veterinary students have been back on campus since August. In January, we welcomed small cohorts of students back into our classrooms for in-person lectures with synchronous Zoom for the online group. We continue to teach our students in the first- through third years in a hybrid model .
- Our fourth-year students (Class of 2021) returned to clinics in early January, while our third-years returned to didactic instruction after seven months in rotations.
- Our traditional sophomore professional coating ceremony for the Class of 2023 (May 13) and commencement for the Class of 2021 (May 29) will be held in person at the UF Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and the UF O’Connell Center respectively this year with limitations on guests and social distancing guidelines adhered to.
- Our third-year veterinary students (Class of 2022) returned to campus July 13 to begin hands-on learning in their clinical rotations.
- Orientation for our incoming freshmen (Class of 2024) took place on Aug. 10, and included a first- year leadership experience online during August 11-12.
- All other UFCVM veterinary students began classes on Aug. 17. We are delivering our curriculum in a hybrid of online and face-to-face education in small groups.
- Nearly all of the research in the UFCVM has now resumed through the Research Resumption Plan implemented through the university’s Office of Research. This means we have been able to re-engage in research activities that were interrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- We presented our Senior and Staff Awards ceremony virtually on May 22, and held a virtual commencement celebration for the Class of 2020 on May 23 at 2 p.m.
- Third-year veterinary students (Class of 2022) and our offshore students have begun a shared virtual experience that will consist of four rotations of two weeks each. They will return to the UF campus on July 13 for hands-on learning.
- Working closely with University leadership, we are developing a plan to safely and thoughtfully bring all UFCVM students back to campus by fall semester
- Effective March 16, all lecture-based courses for our first, second and third-year D.V.M. students began online delivery.
- Students in clinical rotations and externships were released from clinic duty at 8 a.m. on March 17. Clinical students will begin online learning on March 23.
- Students with laboratory sessions will be notified by course coordinators for changes in their courses.
- In accordance with State University System mandates in response to recent, unprecedented events, the college will not be holding any face-to-face events at least through May:
- Open House, previously scheduled for April 18, will not take place.
- The format and timing of Commencement for the UFCVM Class of 2020 will need to be altered substantially.
- Resources for Animal Owners
- The American Veterinary Medical Association offers helpful FAQS for pet owners and for veterinarians.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers additional information relating to animals and COVID-19.
- UF Health: COVID-19 Updates
- UF: COVID-19 Updates
All of us at UFCVM will continue to fulfill our mission of teaching, research, service and patient care to the best of our abilities despite the challenges we all now face. We thank all of you — our clients, our alumni, and our many friends and stakeholders — for the trust you have in us, and for your ongoing support, patience and compassion in this challenging time.