Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

Are face coverings required on all campuses? (8/9/21)

Given recent guidance from the CDC and Board of Governors, we expect that all members of our community will wear a mask on campus, vaccinated or unvaccinated. This is especially important while indoors, in crowded outdoor settings, if you have a weakened immune system or if you have an underlying medical condition. Face coverings are required for all individuals in health care settings, including Student Health Services, the Counseling Center and USF Health clinics. Masks will be made available to anyone who needs one.

Has there been a case of coronavirus at the University of South Florida? (3/18/20)

Yes. Please refer to the USF Cases page for detailed information.

Will areas on campus with confirmed cases be cleaned? (3/19/20)

Yes. The areas utilized by an employee/student who test positive will be cleaned according to CDC guidelines.

What are COVID-19 symptoms? (7/8/21)

According to the CDC, people with COVID-19 have reported a wide range of symptoms – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear two-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as they learn more about COVID-19. Older adults and people who have severe underlying medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness.

What if I have COVID-19 symptoms, what should I do? (7/8/21)

Anyone who is experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms should separate themselves from others and seek a clinical evaluation for COVID-19. The individual should email and contact Student Health Services or their health care provider for follow-up care. The individual should stay home until it is determined if they will need to quarantine or isolate for any period of time.

Can HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems spread COVID-19? (5/21/21)

Infectious disease experts from the University of South Florida and the University of Florida have stated that, in non-medical buildings, the potential volume of COVID-19 in the air will not be at a sufficient level to be carried and spread through an HVAC system. This position is supported by the World Health Organization and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 

However, USF has taken extra steps to ensure the safety of our HVAC systems, with a multi-disciplinary team completing a thorough evaluation across all buildings on campus. The HVAC systems have been analyzed based on age, condition, filtration and other factors that need to be balanced when providing air conditioning to remain within the temperature and humidity recommendations.

These efforts have been applied to the Tampa campus, St. Petersburg campus, Sarasota-Manatee campus, and the downtown Tampa facilities. Based on this evaluation, where feasible due to system age and design, USF has upgraded (or is in the process of upgrading) HVAC filtration (to MERV-13), increased building outdoor ventilation rates, and adjusted temperature and relative humidity levels in buildings. 

Assessment of these systems is ongoing to ensure the health and safety of our university community and that systems are operating as they should. Ongoing risk assessments follow ASHRAE recommendations regarding:

  • Ventilation, filtration, and air cleaning
  • Air distribution
  • HVAC System Operation
  • System Commissioning

Have campus tours resumed? (3/3/21)

USF has resumed in-person campus tours. For more information, select which campus you would like to tour:

Or you can sign up for a guided virtual tour to learn about our campuses from current students:

Frequently Asked Questions by Audience

Please refer to the pages linked below to find answers to frequently asked questions. To submit additional questions about USF and coronavirus, visit


International Students



Reliable, Up-to-Date Information about COVID-19 and Public Health