TAMPA, Fla. — Students are back on campus, wearing masks and getting a look at all the signs reminding them of new procedures.
At least 22 states have reported COVID-19 outbreaks on college campuses.
Officials at the University of South Florida hope their fall semester will start and finish without any spikes in cases.
“I think they’ve been seeing the news coverage of what happened at North Carolina for example. We are hoping that if they really want to be back on campus, they’ll appreciate they’ll need to step up and do the right thing," said Donna Petersen, chair of the Coronavirus Task Force.
At other colleges, large gatherings and crowded parties are being blamed for outbreaks.
A Syracuse University official says the gathering on campus might have done damage enough to shut down the campus.
“All we can do is hope that our students are understanding that this is so important to keep our students safe, especially because you never know who you are going to be around and who you might be impacting if you decide not to follow the guidelines," said USF student government president Claire Mitchell.
At USF, students will see seats in classrooms marked off to encourage social distancing.
Smaller classes will be held in person in larger rooms, while large classes will be online only.
“Our plan is a flexible plan; it’s always been that way. We are driven by the data, (and) by what we see the virus doing in our community," said Petersen.
From new outdoor spaces to individual hand sanitizers, students will have the tools to learn and stay safe — officials just hope they use them.