University Beat

Geoffrey Watters headshot
Courtesy of Geoffrey Watters

While some groups are at a higher risk for COVID-19, no one is immune from the spread of the disease.

University of South Florida senior Geoffrey Watters is recovering from a mild case of COVID-19, just in time to graduate this month. But the 22-year-old still has concerns about others who may not be as lucky.

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

While Florida businesses and institutions are trying to figure out how - and how fast - they'll reopen under Gov. Ron DeSantis' plan, universities are also discussing how they will bring students back to campus.

Like many others, the University of South Florida is looking at a phased approach.

In a significant shift for college sports, the NCAA's top governing body said it supports a rule change allowing student-athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness, so long as the college or university they attend does not pay them directly.

portion of the survey USF is using for its COVID-19 symptom-based surveillance program.
University of South Florida

Hillsborough and Pinellas County residents will be able to view areas where people are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 with a new online program from the University of South Florida.

Man in military uniform using a computer
Kemberley Groue / U.S. Air Force

The transition from classroom to virtual learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for many student veterans, and the worries may not end with the spring semester.

Firefighting boats attempt to put out the blaze at the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig
U.S. Coast Guard

April 20 marks 10 years since the BP oil spill began off the Louisiana coast when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded. Over the next six months, more than 200 million gallons of crude spilled into the Gulf.

It's considered to be the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Many COVID-19 patients are losing their sense of taste and smell. Doctors aren’t sure why, but a new research effort starting here in Florida aims to find out. 

The shock of the NCAA canceling college sports largely is gone.

The cost, is not.

man and woman pose for photo
Vinik Family Foundation

Jeff and Penny Vinik, through their Vinik Family Foundation, are giving $50,000 to the University of South Florida United Support Fund.

The initiative provides financial relief to students who are facing economic need – rent, food, and other unexpected expenses – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Commencement ceremony
University of South Florida

The University of South Florida is announcing plans for the thousands of students whose traditional commencement ceremonies scheduled for May have been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak.

arm holding a bunch of plastic tools.
Courtesy: USF Health

Funding medical research can be difficult in the best of times – let alone during a pandemic.

But donations to the University of South Florida’s Pandemic Research and Response Fund are helping the school’s research teams and front-line workers combat the spread of the coronavirus.

USF sign

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

Horse on a farm field

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?

students in university lecture hall

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

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.

USF sign

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.

library bookshelves

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.

Student carrying a backpack
Omar Roque @olroque

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

USF sign

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.


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

hand on top of hand

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.