Temple University to go virtual for rest of fall semester after COVID-19 outbreak

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ByBob Brooks via WPVI logo
Friday, September 4, 2020
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GOING VIRTUAL: Temple University said most classes will be held remotely for the rest of the fall semester following a COVID-19 outbreak.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Temple University said most classes will be held remotely for the rest of the fall semester following a COVID-19 outbreak.

In a statement released Thursday, Temple said there will be exceptions for classes that cannot be held virtually. School officials say 95% of the classes will be conducted remotely.

A two-week suspension was put in place earlier this week after a spike in positive COVID-19 test results over the weekend.

"In light of the recent increase in positive test results among our students, and after consultation with our own healthcare professionals and leaders at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, we have concluded that the data indicate it is time to pivot to primarily online education, as we said we would be prepared to do," President Richard Englert and Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne Epps said in a statement.

The university said the students who tested positive either had no symptoms or mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.

Some parents, like the Delucas from Rockledge, Pennsylvania are choosing to get their college student off campus and back home.

"We weren't sure how long it would be. We weren't sure something like this would happen. I think we sort of planned for it," said Michael Deluca, who will be getting a full refund from Temple for their daughter's room and board.

In a news conference on Tuesday, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley had asked Temple students to "assume everyone around you is infected."

The number of positive cases rose from just over 50 on Friday to more than 200 by Wednesday.

Farley said contact tracing suggests the outbreak was primarily coming from off-campus apartments with multiple residents and small social gatherings around campus.

Student Max Culp says, "I've seen people post on their stories on Snapchat like you know 'party at this address but I'm not going to tell you the address, you have to be trusted to go in there.'"

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University officials said that students and their families seeking reimbursement for on campus housing will have that option. If a student moves out by Sept. 13 the entire room and board fee will be refunded.

Residence halls will also remain open to students who, for any number of reasons, may be unable to return home