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University Beat

USF St. Petersburg
Nicole Slaughter Graham / WUSF Public Media

When Governor Ron DeSantis cut $1 billion from the state's budget earlier this week, included in his vetoes was just over $800,000 for a trio of University of South Florida projects.

Victoria Mejia
Zoom

On Florida Matters this week, we're taking a look at life behind the front lines - the front lines of the war on the coronavirus.

Many first responders - doctors, nurses and people just willing to lend a hand - have forsaken the relative comfort of their own hometowns and ventured into the epicenter of the virus outbreak.

Florida University Reopening Plans Given Green Light

Jun 23, 2020
students in university lecture hall
iStock

As Gov. Ron DeSantis increasingly points to young adults as the source for a spike in coronavirus cases in Florida, public universities across the state are moving forward with plans to reopen campuses in the fall. 

The Florida university system’s Board of Governors on Tuesday approved individual reopening plans put together by each of the state’s 12 state universities.

Coronavirus Test Kit
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

With more than 100,000 cases of COVID-19 in Florida now, public health experts are saying a second spike in infections is underway.

Donna Petersen is dean of the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. She says it's impossible to completely eliminate the illness, but wearing face coverings and keeping six feet apart from others really does help slow the spread.

people posing for a photo on a couch in a business
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

This week on Florida Matters, we hear why Black Americans get arrested at a rate higher than other groups.

It's a very complex issue, and there there are many reasons - some believe they're overpoliced or targeted by police for no reason. One professor says it's the result of centuries of discrimination that are built into our culture.

University of South Florida entrance
University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is rolling out its plan to reopen its campuses.

Phase one of a four phase plan approved last week by the Board of Trustees goes into effect Monday.

Steven Currall speaks in Tampa shortly after being voted the next USF System president.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida received approval Friday for its academic plan to consolidate its three campuses under one umbrella - a "historic milestone," according to USF System President Steven Currall.

Bulls statues at Marshall Center on USF campus
Carl Lisciandrello / WUSF Public Media

Because of COVID-19, the University of South Florida has been closed to all but essential personnel since March, with classes in the last half of the spring and all summer being held online.

That will soon change, as trustees approved a plan Tuesday that gradually reopens the school for the fall semester.

An elderly man in a blue suit with a striped tie and glasses
USF Advance/Facebook

Thomas Terrell Sessums is being remembered for his leadership, love of community, and advocacy on behalf of fair education. 

The former Florida Speaker of the House and longtime partner of Salem Law Group died Saturday at the age of 89.

A college campus with main college welcome center
Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is closing its satellite location in Lakeland.  

The private Catholic university is based in Pasco County and operates remote locations in seven states.  Lakeland is one of 17  facilities slated to close over the next few months.

students in university lecture hall
iStock

The Florida Board of Governors released its student success-based metrics last week, and the University of South Florida came out on top of the state’s twelve public universities.

Students at Florida’s 12 public universities could be returning to campus this fall, according to a new plan approved by the Florida Board of Governors. The universities will use the blueprint to develop individual reopening plans following shutdowns due to the coronavirus.

USF sign on campus
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Sunday is the annual enrollment deadline for parents who want to put their kids in Florida’s Prepaid College Tuition program.

Columbia, Brown, Penn, Purdue — universities with hallowed traditions, proud alumni and another thing in common: Right now they're being sued by disgruntled students.

The students claim that when campuses shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, they should have been entitled to more of their money back. And the list of institutions facing such challenges is growing, including private institutions and entire public systems in California, Florida, North Carolina and Arizona.

University Leaders Approve Plan To Reopen Campuses To Students Amid COVID-19

May 29, 2020
Bull statues on USF campus
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

With COVID-19 concerns still pressing on the Fall semester for Florida universities and others nationwide, the Board of Governors approved the State University System’s plans to bring students back to campus.

University of South Florida entrance
University of South Florida

The Florida Board of Governors is scheduled to talk about plans for reopening the state's twelve public universities Thursday.

The University of South Florida released a revised calendar for the fall semester ahead of that meeting.

Florida's Universities Focused On Reopening While Grappling With Many Questions

May 25, 2020
a young woman holds a sign thanking Corona while resting her foot on a bunch of toilet paper in front of a USF sign
USF Alumni Association/Twitter

As Florida universities face a mid-June deadline to solidify plans for safely reopening campuses in the fall, some school leaders continue to wrestle with questions.

The NCAA is clearing the way for college football, men's basketball and women's basketball to resume on-campus activities on June 1, even as universities map out how they might return to a new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many schools are also facing a sharp drop in revenue that would be made far worse if the upcoming college football season is canceled.

Woman wearing mask
U.S. Army photo

A new survey shows one out of four people in the state have had their work hours cut because of the pandemic - and nearly 18 percent have been laid off from work.

The Sunshine State Survey of 600 people was done by Nielsen and the University of South Florida. According to USF assistant professor Joshua Scacco, six out of 10 respondents said they are concerned about the effect the economic shutdown is having on their finances.

Bull statues on USF campus
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

State university system Chancellor Marshall Criser next week will present guidelines for reopening university campuses in the fall, after students were sent home in March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded $15 million in grants nationwide, including to Florida universities, to increase training in telehealth as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

screen capture of split screen of woman and man talking
City of Tampa Facebook

With summer classes starting online Monday, University of South Florida officials continue to work on plans for the fall – and there is at least one surprising statistic they are keeping in mind when making any decisions.

people wearing face masks
iStock

A new survey shows a majority of respondents favor requiring people to wear face masks in public. But a large portion says the responses to the pandemic could be worse than the disease.

Think pods
University of Tampa

The United States is facing its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with unemployment in the double digits.  But for people looking to start a business, one expert says the road ahead might lead to opportunity. 

Updated on May 12 at 11:20 a.m. ET

A for-profit college received millions of dollars from the federal government to help low-income students whose lives have been upended by the coronavirus outbreak, but that same school, Florida Career College (FCC), is also accused of defrauding students.

Starting Monday, Advanced Placement exams, which test high schoolers' knowledge of college material, will take an unusual form. The high-anxiety, college credit tests normally last three hours and are taken in person. But this year, in response to disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, the College Board, which administers AP exams, shortened the tests to 45 minutes and moved them online.

a tall bridge lit up in green and gold
Michael Kelly/Twitter

This weekend, more than 7,000 University of South Florida students joined the ranks of the school's alumni. But they did it in a way that had not been done before.

Students in graduation regalia on the floor of the Yuengling Center.
Mark Schreiner / WUSF Public Media

The University of South Florida is holding perhaps the most unusual commencement in the school’s more than 60-year history this weekend.

At the same time, there will be gestures of support for the class of 2020 around the Tampa Bay area.

Exterior of bookstore on USF campus
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

While Florida businesses have started reopening this week, the same isn’t true for the state’s public university system. Students have been learning remotely since mid-March.

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