TAMPA, Fla. - All of Florida's public universities are moving classes online, following a new directive regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus from the State University System of Florida. Some private colleges and universities, including the University of Tampa, are taking classes online, as well.
"Effective immediately, all universities will make plans to transition to remote instruction as soon as possible," the website for the state said. "We have continued to monitor the spread of the COVID-19 virus it has become clear that to protect the students and the residents of our state, proactive rather than reactive guidance to universities is necessary."
The State University System of Florida offered further guidance for universities to follow, based on their academic schedules:
Universities with students currently on campus, which includes Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida Polytechnic University, and the University of Florida, should "transition to remote instruction immediately and encourage students to return home for at least two weeks."
Universities with students on, or going on, spring break were advised to tell students not to return to campus for at least two weeks after their trips. Those universities include Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida State University, New College of Florida, the University of North Florida, the University of Central Florida, the University of South Florida, and the University of West Florida.
The University of South Florida said all university-sponsored events are canceled for the next 30 days. Campuses will remain open and operations will continue but some adjustments might be made at each university, based on their individual needs. USF said it continues to post updates for students, faculty, staff and the public at https://www.usf.edu/coronavirus/.
The University of Tampa, which is currently on spring break, said it decided to move from face-to-face instruction to online delivery starting Monday, March 16. UT officials encouraged students not to return to campus after spring break and to continue coursework remotely. However, campus residence halls and services will remain open and operational for those who need to stay on campus.
Florida State University, in Tallahassee, announced its plans via Twitter, saying it will move classes from in-person to online starting Monday, March 23, for at least two weeks. In a post on Twitter, FSU said the campus will remain open and in-person classes are scheduled to resume Monday, April 6. The tweet included a link to a page on the university's website.
If you feel sick
The Florida Department of Health has opened a COVID-19 Call Center at 1-866-779-6121. Agents will answer questions Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Questions may also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Email responses will be sent during call center hours.
CORONAVIRUS IN FLORIDA: What you need to know
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This is a developing story. Check back for updates.