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As coronavirus spreads, USF urges professors to consider moving classes online

A message by provost Ralph Wilcox this week asked faculty to “take deliberate steps in preparing for remote instructional delivery" of classes.
The University of South Florida has asked faculty to prepare to take classes online as the threat of coronavirus grows. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
The University of South Florida has asked faculty to prepare to take classes online as the threat of coronavirus grows. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
Published Mar. 11, 2020
Updated Mar. 12, 2020

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UPDATE: Florida’s state universities to move classes online, citing coronavirus

TAMPA — The University of South Florida has asked faculty to “consider alternatives to face-to-face instruction" as coronavirus spreads through the state.

While there is no mandate for professors to move courses to online, a message by provost Ralph Wilcox this week asked them to “take deliberate steps in preparing for remote instructional delivery" of classes.

He wrote that some students and faculty have already self-isolated or chosen to distance themselves from campus. As the virus spreads, more may elect to do so — or it could become a necessity.

“The situation is rapidly evolving and constantly changing,” USF spokesman Adam Freeman said Wednesday. “It’s just a matter of monitoring it."

Related: USF cancels six study abroad trips due to coronavirus

Professors at the University of Florida in Gainesville this week were encouraged to move classes online, too. Spokesman Steve Orlando said there is a “strong probability” the switch will become required before the school’s spring semester ends May 1.

USF officials this week also canceled or postponed large events scheduled over the next month that people from other states and countries were set to attend. Smaller events for local attendees can be held with written approval from a college dean or university official.

Despite rumors, Freeman said USF has no plans to cancel graduation ceremonies, which are set for the second weekend in May. Match Day, an annual event where graduating medical students learn where they will spend residency training, is still on for March 20, he said.

“We’re continuing to monitor conditions and circumstances related to the virus,” Freeman added. “If there is a change needed, we will notify students as soon as possible.”

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

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WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

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