USF sees around 240 positive COVID-19 cases in students since start of fall semester

Posted at 5:34 AM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 15:51:21-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Around 240 USF students across all campuses have tested positive for COVID-19 so far since the fall semester started on August 24, the university says.

The majority of those cases are at the Tampa campus.

The university tells ABC Action News there are 50,830 students this semester, which means .004% of students have tested positive.

USF says they’re all self-isolating according to CDC guidelines.

The university set aside residence halls with rooms equipped with their own bathrooms to quarantine students.

School leaders say they were expecting these cases because the virus is still in the community.

“We knew that our bringing students back to campus creates more movement of people in the community and more movement of people means more opportunity for the virus to spread,” said Donna Petersen Dean of USF’s College of Public Health.

Officials say the numbers are still well within their capacity to manage.

Leaders say they’re monitoring COVID-19 numbers every day and right now they’re not seeing a cluster in cases on campus.

“Which tells us that all of the communications, all of our discussions with students, our asking them to please help us out and do all that they can to help prevent the transmission coupled with our surveillance strategies and our case management strategies seem to be working,” said Petersen.

USF is urging students not to relax, to keep following all COVID-19 mitigation measures, and stay the course so they don’t see an outbreak.

“We can beat this virus if we do it together,” said Petersen.

Currently, school leaders say they're planning for the spring semester.

Officials say they’re thinking about what policies they might put in place, if they’re going to repeat what they’ve done this fall semester, and if they’ll implement different protocols.

“We’re really kind of taking this kind of one day, one week at at a time,” said Petersen.

No decisions have been made about the spring semester yet.