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UCF 'Armors Up' Campus Against Coronavirus

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Armor Up Ambassadors
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

The University of Central Florida is encouraging students to “armor up” against coronavirus and has hired a team of student ambassadors to help.

The Armor Up Ambassadors are a group of 24 students who walk around the Orlando campus to ensure that those on campus are wearing masks, staying physically distanced and have completed the UCF COVID Self-Checker.

Aishwarya Joshi is one of the ambassadors. When she saw an ad for the program, she jumped at the opportunity to do something.

“I was so excited when I saw this ad, when they put it up on the post.” Joshi said. “I have a health care background, and during this COVID time I felt so useless not doing anything. When I saw this, I was pretty excited. I was hoping I can get into it and I’m so glad.”

Maureen Hawkins, director of UCF’s Wellness and Health Promotion Services, said her team interviewed students online via Zoom before selecting the ambassadors.

“We wanted to see what would motivate you to want to help people be healthier and make a behavior change, all of those things,” said Hawkins.

The goal is to make everyone on campus feel more confident about their health and make sure they are following the guidelines.

Ambassadors like Joshi hand out rewards including stickers, sunglasses and hand sanitizer to students who wear face masks and complete the self-checker.

The university says it plans to hire up to 60 student ambassadors as the semester goes on.

The effort comes as UCF reported 152 new positive cases for the week ending Oct. 10. Since September, the university had been reporting an average of 40 new cases a week, according to its dashboard.

Most of the cases can be traced to eating or drinking in bars and restaurants without wearing a mask.

In a statement, Associate Vice President of UCF Student Health Services Dr. Michael Deichen said these activities should be avoided unless health precautions are in place.