Gators Returning to Campus Facilitated by UFIT
Enabling UF Health’s Screen, Test & Protect Initiative
Empowering UF to thrive in its teaching, learning, and research Mission during the pandemic meant a seismic transition in services and support for UF Information Technology (UFIT). Since Spring 2020, UFIT has allocated more than 10,000 staff hours in support of UF Health’s Screen, Test & Protect (STP) initiative.
Providing the technological backbone for a transformational campus-wide initiative required synergizing staff expertise from numerous units within UFIT. Under UF Health leadership and guided by the Department of Epidemiology, UFIT worked quickly to understand the procedural requirements as well the data, reports, and dashboards needed to support screening and testing efforts. Data privacy and FERPA/HIPAA compliance remained at the forefront of the work.
In Summer 2020, UFIT worked with the STP team and the Office of the Vice President for Human Resources to launch a screening and test scheduling system for faculty and staff. By the start of the Fall 2020 semester, efforts expanded to include students returning to Gainesville. UFIT worked closely with partners in the Enrollment Management division and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs on the initial deployment of screening and test scheduling for students. Throughout the fall and spring terms, UFIT has continued these collaborations, enhancing the screening and testing systems as more feedback was gathered. By March 31, nearly 80,000 UF community members have submitted more than 556,000 screening forms and scheduled more than 282,000 COVID-19 tests. More recent work includes collaborating with representatives across campus and UF Health to develop and implement routine testing of high-risk cohorts (e.g., students residing in Greek housing, face-to-face course enrollees, on-campus residents, etc.).
The data reporting environment requires more than 90 jobs running each day, executing over 2,700 steps to process the data from UF Health’s and UF’s enterprise systems. The jobs support data sharing for business processes and data modeling needed to populate reports and dashboards. These reports have been accessed more than 22,000 times by 400+ unique users to inform their decision-making.
At the start of the Fall 2020 term, the STP initiative focus was on screening. But by the end of term, increased testing capacity allowed for the large-scale testing solutions that ensured the health and safety of faculty, students, and staff. Using UFIT’s customer relationship management (CRM) environment, resources were allocated to rapidly build processes for engaging with the UF community.
“It has been an incredible journey developing these solutions so quickly to support large-scale screening and testing, and now vaccinations,” said TJ Summerford, IT Manager and CRM team lead. “The spirit of collaboration among all the teams has been inspiring, and our efforts to support the community vaccination campaign has given us an amazing opportunity to serve not just students and staff but also members of the greater Gainesville community. I’m truly honored to play a role in these efforts and to help my neighbors in this way.”
As vaccines started to become available, the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County and UF Health collaborated on community vaccination efforts. UFIT technology infrastructure was again used to support the screening of students and employees. As of April 12, a waitlist of more than 111,000 individuals is managed on UFIT infrastructure, with over 85,000 vaccination appointments scheduled thus far.
At the start of the university’s response to the pandemic, Vice President and CIO Elias Eldayrie immediately committed UFIT’s staff and technical capabilities to the Screen, Test & Protect initiative.
“UF will soon be top-5, and our focus remains laser focused each day on achieving that ranking. But with the extraordinary events in 2020, we also focused on supporting UF Health’s efforts to keep campus safe, healthy, and informed. That we could do this work and still support the campus switch to a fully online teaching environment, and prepare and build HiPerGator 3.0 and HiPerGatorAI last year—it just makes me so proud of our staff and thankful for this amazing university.”