PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Classes at Temple University will be virtual for the remainder of the fall semester following a COVID-19 outbreak on campus. The university says it believed in-person classes could be possible for the fall semester after students made it “loud and clear” they wanted to be together again on campus.
But a recent COVID-19 outbreak is causing Temple to switch course and move to a virtual semester. Temple has reported over 200 COVID-19 cases over the last week due to an outbreak that officials believe is linked to students living in off-campus housing.
A new class of Temple Owls has only been on campus for two weeks.
“We just got an email this morning, ‘Oh, everything’s canceled, you guys gotta figure it out,” freshman Ella Nowakowski said.
All classes will move from 75% virtual instruction and 25% in-person to 95% online and 5% on campus.
Temple says there are academic and other support services available to students who remain on campus, including the health services.
“These are folks who must be present on campus to do something physically that can’t be simulated online. So for example a nursing student, physical therapy student, occupational therapy student,” Temple spokesperson Ray Betzner said.
“It sucks but I feel like everyone saw this coming. We’re the only school in Philly to open,” freshman Caitlyn Gradwell said.
“Honestly, I’m not shocked at all. It was just a matter of time,” sophomore Macey Segal said.
For the 3,000 students remaining in residence halls, they have until Sunday, Sept. 13 to move out if they want a full refund on rent and meal plans.
“My parents want the refund so they’re like, ‘we’ll get you an apartment. I just want their money back,'” freshman Rayna George said.
“It’s like the disappointed but not surprised kinda feeling. I don’t know what Temple was really expecting by bringing us back,” sophomore Stephen Fiora said.
Just because some students will be heading home does not mean the end of the outbreak.
A Temple spokesperson says the school will continue to work with the health department on campaigns to help students better understand the gravity of COVID-19 so they can access their behavior to lower the risk for themselves and the surrounding community.
The university says of those who tested positive for COVID-19, none have severe symptoms. They are either showing no or mild-to-moderate symptoms.
CBS3’s Alecia Reid contributed to this report.