Saint Leo University plans to reopen all on-campus classes in August, but move to online classes for the last two weeks of the semester following Thanksgiving break. Dining and residence halls will remain open through the end of the semester and room and board costs will remain the same.
The Florida-based private university with 35 regional locations across the seven states will also be closing 17 campuses over the next few months, including one in Lakeland, and shift solely online, according to a university statement sent to the Tampa Bay Times. The reduction is due to “enrollment trends and operational changes made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic," the statement said.
Senior vice president Melanie Storms said the university has seen growth in its exclusively online programs in recent years.
“We understand this move may be hard for some of our students, but we will work through it with them together,” Storms said. “Our staff will discuss solutions to help students continue their educational journey. Our goal is to see all of our students earn their degrees, and we sincerely hope that will be at Saint Leo.”
Saint Leo received $4.5 million in federal stimulus money, $2 million of which was designated for student grants.
The university announced the preliminary plan for reopening on its website last week. The University of South Florida announced a similar plan this week.
“Given that many experts have suggested there may be another peak in cases of coronavirus in the late fall, associated with the onset of flu season, the university has preemptively decided to adjust our instructional approach for the end of the fall semester,” the announcement said.
Saint Leo is expected to announce a finalized reopening plan in June.