Gator Nation News

Brave New Nation

Campus life, in an age of COVID-19

Our photographer spent the first few weeks of the school year capturing move-in day, first classes and other milestones.

Photos by Aaron Daye, UF Advancement


Students were asked to form “QuaranTeams” – groups who live together or socialize together and follow agreed-upon sets of guidelines for health and safety. Freshmen, sitting with their QuaranTeam, gather to watch movies during The Great Gator Welcome Film Fest at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on September 4.

Face masks are required outdoors at UF when there’s a chance social distance can’t be maintained. Paulina Kalantarov, a senior, isn’t taking any chances.

Krishna Lunch had moved to a pick-up and delivery model for much of the summer, returning to campus with safety precautions in place at the start of the semester. Freshman Biology Pre-Professional major Maryanne Bowns, right, walks the new Krishna Lunch line as crew members Madhu Miele, left, and Nate Ball serve from behind protective shielding.

The start of the semester was pushed back by several weeks as UF monitored the pandemic and readied the campus. Incoming freshmen Graham Cope, left, and Alex Klug, right, walk through Turlington Plaza on the first day of classes.

Move-In Day was spread out over more than 10 days, with appointments required and restrictions placed on the number of people allowed in the dorms to assist students. Incoming freshman John White pushes his belongings as his mother, Becky White, and family friend Herman Durias, at back, walk toward Reid Hall on Saturday, August 22.

University of Florida freshman Liv Gilman talks with other students while waiting for class at the Reitz Union on Monday, August 31, 2020.

Transfer student Trevor Wayne greets freshman Gian Franco Madonia, left, with an elbow bump, while freshman Graham Corbitt, center, looks on as they meet for the first time for the first day of classes outside the Constans Theatre.

Safety precautions extend to public transport, with mask requirements and stepped up sanitizing aboard busses. A cyclist rides through the University of Florida Campus on the first day of classes on Monday, August 31.

Incoming freshmen Vanessa Sanchez, left, and Catalina Corral exercise on the lawn in the Broward housing area Monday, August 31.

All across campus, protocols for sanitizing surfaces have been put in place. UF housekeeper Luisa Vilmenay cleans at the Reitz Union.

From left, incoming freshmen Jacqueline St. Pierre, Cori Cowley and Ashley Blun use the map in the Reitz Union to find their classroom on the first day of classes.

“Gators Go With the Flow” signs have been placed around campus to ensure as few people as possible are passing each other in narrow spaces.

Student Affairs planned icebreaker and welcome back events to help students get comfortable and have fun. Incoming freshman Yusra Ahmed practices social distancing while playing Simon Says during the Sweet Event on the north lawn of the Reitz Union.

Patricia Jordan, Multicultural and Diversity Affairs interim senior director, greets an incoming freshman at the “Who’s Who at MCDA” during the Sweet Event.

Many campus programs were held virtually to ensure student safety. Peer coordinator Brianna Then talks with students during virtual ADELANTE, a three-day early arrival program that focuses on the successful high school to college transition of incoming Hispanic-Latinx students at La Casita, UF's Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures, on Friday, August 28.

Thousands of signs have been placed around campus to encourage the wearing of masks, to instruct on the optimal flow of foot traffic and to outline safe social distances.

Students socialize with their QuaranTeam at the Reitz Union. From left, sophomore Elizabeth Lantzy, incoming freshman Justin Lanzuela, and senior Ariela Santillan get to know each other while playing a card game called "Garbage" on August 27.

A now-familiar sight: face coverings and reminders to wear them. At the Weimer Hall Atrium at the UF College of Journalism.

UF sophomore Alyssa Ramesh, right, gets help from student Enrique Trevino during dorm check-in at Sledd Hall on Saturday, August 22.

Face coverings are required inside all classrooms and common areas at the University of Florida.