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College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

COVID-19 Updates and Announcements

  • Message to CALS Students from CALS Dean Elaine Turner 3.13.20

    CALS Students:

    It’s been quite a week! As many of you are preparing to leave campus, I wanted to reach out and express my concern and support for each of you. The action by the university to move all classes online may seem drastic, but our common goal is to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and protect the health of our students, faculty, staff and community. Some of you will be staying in Gainesville, and the campus will remain open. You will have access to the library, dining facilities, research laboratories and other facilities, some of which you will need to complete your academic work. In addition, U Matter We Care, the Counseling and Wellness Center, the Student Health Care Center and other campus resources remain open to meet your needs.

    Our faculty are working very hard to move their courses online and provide the best possible experience for you. It won’t be the same. But, our faculty are among the best creative teaching minds in the country and I’m confident that they will continue to do their best for you. Some of you are less comfortable with online learning – we will be posting tips to our Facebook page(@ufcals) and other social media accounts. Those of you who are online veterans, share your strategies for managing your courses with your classmates through this quick form.

    If you are a student employee, please communicate with your supervisor; you may continue to work on campus.

    Your academic advisors, instructors, and all of us in the Dean’s Office are just an email, phone call or Zoom call away, so please reach out for assistance. Stay up to date by checking and your Gatorlink email frequently. We have a webpage for CALS-specific information, such as event updates and advising. We can’t wait to have you back on campus!

    Dr. T

  • For Students By Students: CALS Online Learning Success Tips

    "Make a study schedule! And make a study area in your home that is just for working. Studying in bed will lead to naps." --Kailee McMahon, Microbiology and Cell Science master's student

    "For online learning that includes Zoom - limit online distractions (such as Internet windows, computer notifications) and physical distractions (such as pets or roommates). Using headphones or earbuds can also help eliminate background noise. I try to attend Zoom classes like I would attend class in-person, even if it is as simple as working at a table and chair instead of from the couch." -- Ashley McLeod-Morin, Agricultural Education and Communication Ph.D. student

    "Plan out your days. Make a seperate workspace. If you don't feel motivated, get dressed and ready as you normally would for class. You can do it!" -- Heather Surratt, Environmental Management in Agriculture and Natural Resources student

    "1) Have a massive to do list for assignments - put ideal due dates, in order. 2) Utilize the dashboard calendar of Canvas to quickly see what is coming up. 3) Complete assignments in bulk. 4) Remember to study just as much as you would for an in-person class. 5) Take as many weekends as you can. Doing so will help you come back stronger and also make school not seem as endless." -- Gabriella Loniewski, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "The main thing I do is post my class schedule on my corkboard and label which class is what. I highlight important dates and also put due dates on my calendar that can be a dry erase one or a paper one. This helps me keep track of what I need to be doing on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. I also check off what is completed to show my progress." -- T'Keyah, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "Do not treat this as a vacation. Even though your physical location of learning has changed you still need to have hours dedicated to your school work. Set up a quiet place without distractions where you are able to dedicate hours to learning." -- Adriana, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "Self-discipline. Write out a several week schedule of when all assignments are due.  Then figure out what you need to accomplish each day in order to complete assignments on time. USE YOUR DISCUSSION BOARD POSTS-classmates either have same questions or can provide helpful answers. Take really detailed notes (I type mine up in Word one one computer while listening to lectures on the other) of lectures. This is the biggest different you have with online-you cannot interact with the professors and the learning doesn't seem to solidify was well with in-person lectures. Be patient, sometimes all doesn't go smoothly, but you are not alone. Ask for help." -- Jessica Conners, Microbiology and Cell Science master's student

    "Don't stress. Online learning is the future, and you are every bit as much a Gator and connected to your Gator family as you were on Campus. COVID-19 doesn't stand a chance against Gators!" -- Dariel Liakhovetski, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "Definitely keep an eye on the dashboard as it shows you what’s due each day. Take it one day at a time." -- Batoul, Microbiology and Cell Science master's student

    "Always schedule your online work accordingly so that you have balanced days to work, get homework done, and still have time for yourself." -- Christi, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "1) Recorded lectures can be paused to take more thorough notes (use close-captioning when available... it is great!) Also, always print the lecture pdf prior to lecture. 2) Don't wait until last minute for submitting/completing assignments/quizzes (accounting for technical issues, longer time to complete work than originally expected, etc.). 3) If you have questions ask your professor via email (refer to syllabus for preferred method of communication)... professors are really great at responding quickly. Also, course discussion boards are great resources to ask peers, etc. 4) Get acquainted with ProctorU as soon as possible for proctored exams (make account, test equipment, schedule exams, etc.
    5) Type discussion post in Microsoft Word prior to posting final post into discussion board assignment. 6) Organize your weekly schedule to stay on track and not fall behind. A lot of times, assignments are due at the same time each week which helps develop a weekly rhythm to managing your course work without falling behind. 7) Stay informed on class announcements which have important information/updates from the instructor." -- Brooke Thomson, Microbiology and Cell Science graduate student

    "Engage in discussions with your own contextualized view. Write down questions that you have during your readings/activities so that in the chat or other engagement times - you are able to remember and ask them. Don't work too far ahead, but also don't get too crammed that you don't give yourself time to accomplish the set objectives per module." -- Stacy Swartz, Agronomy graduate student

    "Set a weekly schedule and stick around it, in addition, I usually devote more time when needed to understand better what the professor is explaining. As I find something tricky, I do not hesitate to reach out to either the professor or TAs, they are always willing to help and make things as clear as possible. One last thing to consider is to look for extra literature, now the web is full of resources that we can take advantage of." -- Martin Zapien, Horticultural Sciences student

    "If you've never taken exams with the online proctoring software before, make sure to test everything out AT LEAST a day before the exam. If using ProctorU, DON'T schedule your exam too close to the submission time. You don't want to have 1 hour before the exam is due and find that your computer suddenly won't connect to ProctorU. Give yourself plenty of time to accommodate for technical issues, they can sometimes happen randomly with ProctorU especially." -- Kate Gerhardt, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "Stay on top of your coursework. It's easy to get distracted by other things and then cram all of the videos in on the weekend, but this isn't a good idea.  Treat the lectures and assignments as you would an in-person class.   See if you can have a GroupMe set up for your classes for students to communicate with each other outside of Canvas.  Stay on top of the work!  I'd also recommend blocking all social media and keeping your phone in another room when you go online for class.  It's so easy to get distracted, but after a week or so of not having your phone and social media around, you'll find it so much easier to concentrate." -- Katharine Floyd, Microbiology and Cell Science master's student

    "Do not neglect self-care. Yes, there are deadlines, but don't push yourself to the point of exhaustion. If you're too distracted to get anything done, or your mind keeps wandering, take a break or call it a night. The work will still be there tomorrow." -- Nicole Ross, Microbiology and Cell Science student

    "Plan out all the assignments and lectures for the week that need to be accomplished with estimated amount of time to complete each. It is easy to forget or lose track of the days but if you allocate time in the morning (or whatever time of the day you're most productive) then you'll be able to knock out what needs to be done which will give you the rest of the day to whatever you want." -- Nick Wendrick, Food Science student

    "The way to keep up is simply by downloading the UF Canvas App and UF Email App on your phone which allows for constant notifications on your phone and communication exchange in order to stay ahead. Basically, your phone that you carry with you everywhere will become your best friend, which honestly, it pretty much is already anyways, hehe! Since you will treat your phone as a planner through the UF Canvas App, you can personalize its notifications and alerts to remind you of everything on your phone, including professor updates or announcements, when assignments and exams are due, group projects and contributions that you still need to submit and much more!" -- Lizbeth Boehm, Microbiology and Cell Science student

College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Updates

Due to the concerns regarding COVID-19 and the health of our staff, volunteers and attendants, the following events have been rescheduled in a virtual format due to Covid-19 precautions:

  • April 7 at 6 p.m. - Virtual Gator Gathering, featuring an alumni panel for prospective and newly admitted students, families, alumni and friends of CALS
  • April 24 at 12 p.m. (noon) - Virtual Facebook Live CALS Scholarship and Leadership Awards Banquet
    • Tune into our CALS Facebook account (@ufcals) as CALS Dean Turner announces the student award finalists and the recipients of the Outstanding Junior Award and four senior awards. We will also recognize our faculty and staff award recipients and additional student honors that would have been acknowledged at our live banquet.
    • Replaces the April 16 in-person CALS Scholarship and Leadership Awards Banquet
  • April 24 at 2 p.m. - FYCS Graduation Send Off, arranged by the UF/IFAS Family, Youth and Community Sciences Department
  • All spring 2020 commencement and student recognition ceremonies have been rescheduled, a decision by the State University System of Florida. UF has rescheduled the ceremonies for the weekend of July 31-August 2. Our CALS team is working on ways to fully honor our students and their accomplishments. Please see details on our commencement webpage.

Due to the concerns regarding COVID-19 and the health of our staff, volunteers and attendants, the following college events will not be held due to Covid-19 precautions:

Faculty Teaching Resources

CALS faculty needing additional assistance transitioning their on-campus courses should complete the online services request form for COVID-19 related assistance, to ask for technical support on instructional technologies or help with Canvas course sites, reserve a recording room, borrow recording equipment or request video help for online labs.

Link to CALS Teaching Memo from CALS Dean Elaine Turner 3.12.20

Student Resources

Students seeking academic advising appointments should contact their advisor by phone or email (contacts found here) to arrange virtual appointments via Zoom or a similar tool.

UF has developed a resource for students: site is a work in progress but will be kept up to date to help students leverage the technology resources UF has available for them during this unpresented time.

Forms (Fillable PDFs):

Assistance Resources Available

Aid-a-Gator: Aid-a-Gator is an emergency fund that provides limited assistance to UF faculty, staff and students who experience a temporary financial hardship. If you or someone you know is in need, please visit the following websites for
more information: (1) Faculty and staff -- (2) Students  --

Alan and Cathy Hitchcock Field & Fork Campus Food Pantry: The Pantry offers non-perishable food, toiletries and fresh produce when available. Faculty, staff and students need only bring their Gator1 ID card. For more information, visit

UF Employee Assistance Program: The UF EAP offers someone to talk to and resources to consult whenever and wherever you need them. All faculty, staff, graduate assistants, non-student OPS employees, housestaff/residents and postdoc associates as well as their household members are eligible to receive services. For more information, visit