UNF president encourages students, faculty, staff to get vaccinated

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – University of North Florida President David Szymanski sent a message on Wednesday, urging students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I am strongly encouraging all students, faculty and staff to get vaccinated before the start of the fall semester,” Szymanski wrote. “Together, we can slow the spread of this virus and enjoy a fulfilling, successful campus experience.”

The letter comes as the delta variant of the coronavirus is causing infection surges across the United States.

READ: Letter from UNF president encouraging all Ospreys to get vaccinated | RELATED: Greater Jacksonville leads Florida, nation in COVID resurgence

Florida accounted for a fifth of the nation’s new cases last week, more than any other state, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitals have seen admissions soar with the vast majority of the patients unvaccinated.

“Considering the current state of the pandemic, I feel compelled to share with you the advice from our local hospitals and medical experts urging all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible. It’s the best, most effective way to protect yourself and the greater Osprey community from getting COVID-19 and preventing hospitalization or death to the virus,” Szymanski said in the message. “As we repopulate campus in advance of the fall semester, we need to continue protecting one another and do all we can to keep out campus fully operational. As we have done at every stage of this crisis, let’s embrace the philosophy of shared responsibility for the safety of our students, faculty and staff.”

Szymanski and the other 11 presidents of Florida’s state universities signed a letter asking students returning to campus for the fall semester to get vaccinated.

Fall classes at UNF begin Aug. 23.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.