TAMPA, Fla. - Officials with the University of South Florida announced Monday it's pushing the school's scheduled spring break from March to April to avoid the rampant spread of COVID-19 among students and staff.
The change means students will finish out the year online once they return from spring break.
More than 50,000 USF students and 16,000 staff members will now have to reschedule their spring break plans.
"I think it's a pretty responsible decision for the school to not have everyone come back after everyone goes out and travels and parties," USF junior Lindsey Silvernale said.
Since the start of the school year, USF has reported 328 positive cases of COVID-19. The university's original spring break was planned for March 15-21. Now it'll be pushed to April 12-18.
"It's intended to reduce the number of individuals who return and then travel back to USF campus and it lowers the likelihood of exposing others to COVID-19 within the university community but also within the broader Tampa Bay region," USF spokesperson Adam Freeman said.
The change means the last week of classes and all final exams will be given remotely. Some students say the at-home learning experience has its drawbacks.
"We're paying huge bucks and we don't benefit from sitting at home so we really miss the college experience, but only two weeks we can understand the pain people are suffering because of this COVID," grad student Avyash Srirama said.
USF isn't the only Florida university making changes. Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Florida International University are cancelling their spring breaks altogether and ending the spring semester a week early.
"Obviously, it's not convenient but people are still dying I care about the old people I know and stuff. I think it's responsible of the school," Silvernale said.