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University Beat

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CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Voter rights advocates are declaring victory after Florida officials agreed to allow early voting sites back on college campuses.

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Some counties in Florida have reported no -- or very few -- cases of coronavirus, a reason Gov. Ron DeSantis cited Wednesday for waiting so long to issue a statewide stay-at-home order.

But Jerne Shapiro, an epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Florida, says the lack of testing – particularly in rural areas – means low numbers may not reflect the real number of infections.

A smiling woman in a lab coat, with glasses sits at a desk with a cranium, and models of internal organs.
Courtesy: USF Health

About two weeks ago, Dr. Charles Lockwood, dean of the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, came to researcher Summer Decker with a question for her and her colleagues: could 3D printing help alleviate the shortage of nasal swabs used in COVID-19 testing kits?

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iStock

As students begin to adjust to a new normal in the world of COVID-19, many have begun to experience difficulties regarding their financial wellbeing.

In response to this, the University of South Florida has created a fund to help provide financial relief to these students.

empty store shelves
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

The COVID-19 pandemic has filled homes across the globe but has emptied shelves at supermarkets.

Residents looking to stock up on essentials have left stores trying to catch up with the demand.

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CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

The University of South Florida is reporting that a student and an employee at its Tampa campus have tested positive for COVID-19.

The student had been traveling abroad and tested positive upon returning to the U.S. The student has not been on campus during the spring semester and is self-isolating in another state.

Bull statues on USF Tampa campus
Carl Lisciandrello/WUSF Public Media

State officials made the decision to cancel all in-person classes for the remainder of the school term.  

Schools and universities across the Tampa Bay area are now having to gear up for the transition to online instruction.

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iStock

Libraries across Florida are closing their doors as COVID-19 continues to sweep across the country.

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative posted on its website that all locations will be shut down until further notice, suspending all holds and closing book drops, and will not receive returns or donated items.

USF St. Petersburg
Nicole Slaughter Graham / WUSF Public Media

The first University of South Florida student to be found with COVID-19 was diagnosed over the weekend. The student attends USF St. Petersburg, according to University President Steve Currall.

Currall said in a statement the student is being monitored by the Florida Department of Health’s Pinellas County division and is in self-isolation. The student has not been on the campus since late February.

Plant Hall building at University of Tampa
University of Tampa

The University of Tampa reports that six students, including five who traveled together for Spring Break, have tested positive for COVID-19.

One student who travelled internationally tested positive at the student health center on March 16, and is self-isolated on campus. Four of the remaining five students who were on spring break are self-isolating and on campus, university officials said in a statement Saturday evening.

One of the students did not return to campus but is self-isolating. None needed to be hospitalized.

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Omar Roque @olroque

The University of Central Florida is decontaminating a residence hall and classrooms after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

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CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

A member of the University of South Florida’s Counseling Center in Tampa has tested positive for coronavirus.

young girl with her hands in the dirt next to a flower
USF Gus A. Stavros Center

Bickering over the presidential primary and fears of coronavirus may cause some younger people to steer clear of civic engagement.

But one Tampa Bay area educator is offering strategies to help kids get excited about making a difference in the world.

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Commencement ceremonies at the University of South Florida and other state universities will be postponed indefinitely.

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NPR

In addition to such things as travel bans, sports being shut down, and school closures, coronavirus has led Governor DeSantis to place a 30-day ban on all visitations for nursing homes throughout Florida.

But there are some things people can do to remain in touch with loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

Updated at 6:08 p.m. ET

The NCAA has announced that it is canceling its Division I men's and women's college basketball tournaments. This year, there will be no March Madness.

"This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities," the NCAA said in a statement Thursday.

Yuengling Center
Jonah Hinebaugh / WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida, along with the rest of the American Athletic Conference, is suspending all spring sports competitions until further notice.

Earlier Thursday, USF said it would be closing all future home sports competitions to fans because of the coronavirus.

It also comes as the NCAA cancelled both its Division I men's and women's college basketball tournaments.

Man stands at a podium with people behind him while adressing reporters
Thomas Iacobucci / WUSF Public Media

All Florida public universities, including the University of South Florida, will transition to online course instruction to lessen the risk of coronavirus.

The Florida Board of Governors announced the change will take place “as soon as possible.” At USF, classes will meet as scheduled through Friday. Then, students go on spring break before returning to a lot of changes.

Thomas Iacobucci/WUSF Public Media

NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament games, including those next week at Amalie Arena, will not be played in front of fans due to concerns over coronavirus.

Courtesy: Road to the White House

Over the years, college-age voters have been accused by some of being apathetic when it comes to politics. Two groups of University of South Florida students are trying to flip that narrative.

Florida lawmakers are working on a plan to allow college athletes to earn money for their name, image and likeness. The move comes after California created a path for college athletes to be compensated, forcing the NCAA to consider making changes. Now with a week left in session, lawmakers in the Senate are questioning whether any potential loopholes in the bill would give universities an advantage in recruiting.

University Merger Plan 'Abandoned'

Mar 7, 2020
glass, dome shaped building
Robin Sussingham / WUSF

A short-lived, yet high-profile, fight to merge New College of Florida and Florida Polytechnic University into the University of Florida died Friday in the state House.

House Speaker Jose Oliva told reporters the chamber “abandoned” the proposal after the Senate refused to go along with the consolidation plan.

Bronze bull statues in the fountain in front of a green copper looming student center.
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media

Health officials say COVID-19 is spread person to person through close contact -- people who are indoors and in close proximity with others for extended periods of time.

People watch debate on projector screen
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

When it comes to determining who won a Presidential debate, methods include questionnaires, phone polling, and dial testing, where people turn a knob to register their feelings on certain questions.

But what if what logic was removed from the process and what someone felt could be measured as well?

Biometric technology that does just that was on demonstration recently in a University of South Florida classroom.

List of ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19
Hillsborough County

After two cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Hillsborough and Manatee counties, governmental agencies, universities, and private companies are stepping up their response.

Students marching, holding flags of their home countries.
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

The coronavirus is causing local universities to bring home some of their students who were studying abroad.

Plan To Merge Florida Poly, New College With UF Headed For House Vote

Feb 26, 2020
University of Florida campus
University of Florida

An ambitious university-consolidation plan that folds Florida’s youngest and smallest colleges into the University of Florida was backed by a key House committee on Tuesday, following testy exchanges between state lawmakers and emotional testimony from students.

University of South Florida entrance
University of South Florida

A proposal to decrease the number public universities in Florida from 12 to 10 continues to generate conversations in the legislature. New College and Florida Polytechnic are fighting to stay independent as lawmakers consider merging them into Florida State, and the University of Florida respectively. A third option has emerged: consolidating Polytech and New College into the University of South Florida.

Man speaking
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Gov. Ron DeSantis, House Speaker Jose Oliva, and University of South Florida President Steven Currall all addressed a controversial university consolidation plan for the first time Thursday.

While neither DeSantis nor Oliva endorsed the move, both like the money-saving aspect of the plan. They're also both open to another merger alternative: the University of South Florida.

Student interns and two men pose for photo
WUSF Public Media

It's that time again, as WUSF News is looking for interns for the summer 2020 semester. We're looking for student journalists from around the country who want to learn and work in a professional newsroom.

Opportunities include our visual and social media internships, as well as a chance to hone your skills as a public radio reporter five days a week.

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