‘This thing isn’t over’: COVID-19 still impacting students on college campuses

Since the fall semester began, both the University of Tampa and the University of South Florida have seen hundreds of COVID-19 infections. 

UT has had just shy of 430 coronavirus cases since classes resumed back in late August. There are 9,700 students enrolled, which means approximately 4.4% of students have been infected. The school says it isn’t surprising but continues to do all it can to limit spread.

“We’re seeing a lot of themes with behaviors off-campus, especially the relaxation of regulations of bars and clubs and restaurants,” said Dean of Students Stephanie Russell Krebs.

UT is adjusting the spring schedule by eliminating a traditional spring break instead and adding four non-instructional days throughout the spring calendar.

USF students on campus

“We feel an obligation to the community we don’t want to be part of spreader events,” she said.

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Meanwhile, at the University of South Florida, confirmed cases are right around 380 when combining all of USF’s campuses. That represents less than 1% of the students enrolled. It’s important to note, USF is using a hybrid learning model which includes both in-person and virtual classes.

“There is some spread in the dorms, not a lot. A lot come from community spread but it doesn’t take that much as we've learned from the earliest days of this disease,” said Dr. Jay Wolfson, a professor of public health and medicine.

USF sign with mascot wearing a mask

Going forward, the message to all students is “this thing isn’t over.”

“We're right in the midst of it. We're going into the fall the season, we're going to have influenza. It looks like the rates are picking up,” Dr. Wolfson said.