State of Florida declares public health emergency

Mar 04, 2020
COVID-19 graphic

The health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority. Visit this webpage for resources and additional information.

March 4, 3:30 p.m.

Dear Florida Poly community,

We continue to closely monitor the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and are taking steps to help keep our students, faculty, and staff healthy.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Florida Poly or in Polk County, but the state has declared a public health emergency. Three cases of the virus have been confirmed in Florida: two in Hillsborough County and another in Manatee County. Nationwide, 128 cases have been reported, a fraction of the 94,250 global cases.

While state and local health officials prepare to quickly identify, quarantine, and treat any suspected cases of COVID-19, the University has been working to prepare for the return of students after spring break and reduce the likelihood that the virus will spread on campus.

At this time, classes are planned to resume as scheduled. We will work to keep you informed as the outbreak develops via our website, email, and social media, but you should visit the Florida Department of Health website and the CDC website for the most timely and accurate information. We’ll send another University update by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 6.


As the coronavirus outbreak spread globally in recent weeks, Florida Poly purchased hospital-strength disinfectants in preparation for possible spread within Florida. The University is working throughout spring break to clean and sanitize our buildings, with particular attention paid to common areas such as classrooms and the Saddle Creek Logistics Commons, as well as frequently touched surfaces like door handles.

This stepped-up cleaning will continue for the foreseeable future.


  • All students, faculty, and staff who return from travel to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, and South Korea must self-quarantine for 14 days after their return and not return to campus.

If you are in this situation, students should contact Kathryn Miller, vice provost for student affairs at 863-874-8640, or Kristin Stokes, campus CARE manager at 863-874-8641. Employees should contact their supervisor or department chair.

  • Those who have been exposed to anyone who recently traveled to those countries or who has been in contact with anyone who you believe may have the coronavirus should also self-quarantine for 14 days and contact the individuals listed above.
  • All international work-related travel must be thoroughly vetted and approved by department chairs and the provost for faculty members and by their vice president for staff members.


There are simple steps we can all take to remain healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.


Remember, it is possible to contract the highly contagious coronavirus from someone before they show any symptoms, which include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Symptoms may appear between 2 and 14 days after exposure. The virus can cause pneumonia and lead to death in some cases.

Terry Parker

Lydia Guzman
Director of Communications