The University of South Florida continues to closely monitor the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and its potential impact on our region. To date, there have been no cases of coronavirus associated with USF on any of our campuses.
USF has mobilized a team of caring professionals across our three campuses to provide any essential services you may need. Whatever the circumstances, these professionals will do their best to deliver timely and appropriate support. In all the scenarios we are preparing for, our top priority is to provide you with the quality support you need to learn, grow and succeed in a safe and healthy environment.
We know that many of you are understandably concerned not only about your health, but also about the steps we are taking to protect our campuses and minimize disruption to teaching and learning.
Here is our latest guidance on some frequently asked questions we’ve heard from our student population.
I’m not feeling well, but I don’t want to miss class, what should I do?
If you are not feeling well and have any cold or flu-like symptoms (regardless of travel history), please stay home and do NOT come to class. All faculty have been instructed by senior leadership to create alternative options for students who choose to stay home. You will not be penalized for staying home or leaving class because you are not feeling well. Talk to your professor about your options for making up work, and reach out to Student Health Services for guidance or to make an appointment, as needed:
- Tampa: Student Health Services (SHS100) at 813-974-2331
- Petersburg Wellness Center (SLC 2200) at 727-873-4422
- Sarasota-Manatee Counseling and Wellness Center (5805 Bay Shore Rd.) at 941-487-4254
If you need assistance with working with a faculty member, it is important to first allow the time for your instructor to respond to your questions. If you still feel you need assistance, please contact the Dean of Students office:
- Tampa: Dean of Students (MSC4301) at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Petersburg: Dean of Students (Piano Man Bldg. 101) at email@example.com or 727-873-4278
- Sarasota-Manatee: Office of Academic Affairs and Student Success (941) 359-4422
Can I get tested for coronavirus?
There is currently no voluntary testing available for the coronavirus. If you suspect you may have contracted coronavirus, please contact Student Health Services, which will evaluate you and work with the Florida Department of Health to coordinate testing, if needed.
How can I protect myself from contracting coronavirus?
There is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus at this time. The best way to prevent infection is to maintain well balanced nutrition, get adequate sleep and take sensible disease-prevention steps.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick.
Click here for more detailed health information from our USF Health experts.
Should I wear a mask?
Masks should only be worn by people who have coronavirus-like symptoms to help prevent the spread of the virus. If a health professional believes you need a mask, you will be provided one. Wearing a mask is not a preventive measure and may actually increase your risk of infection because if you are exposed to the virus, it could attach to the outside of the mask, which you will ultimately touch.
What should I do if I suspect someone around me has coronavirus?
Remember it is cold, flu and allergy season and the symptoms are similar. Do not assume someone has coronavirus based on appearances, assumptions or because of their country of origin. USF is proud to be a diverse and inclusive global community where all are treated with respect. We have a shared responsibility to protect our community not only from illness, but from social stigma and discrimination as well.
To minimize any specific exposure risk, you should know that USF leadership is monitoring travel and managing self-quarantine procedures for members of the USF community who have recently returned from countries with active transmission.
It’s always helpful to share prevention tips and resources from on-campus healthcare providers. Click here to download a flyer with some of these helpful tips.
Should I cancel my plans for spring break?
As of March 3, USF has canceled all university-sanctioned student international travel activities for spring break. As the situation evolves in the United States, it may also become risky to travel within the United States.
Many of you may have personal plans to travel either abroad or domestically over the next few weeks. At this time, all nonessential travel, while not prohibited, is discouraged. Know that the situation is changing rapidly around the country and around the world. You could find yourself in a situation with limited access to health care or with travel restrictions that would make it difficult to return to campus. You might also be asked to self-isolate for 14 days before returning to campus, depending on the nature of your travel.
Please refer to the following resources for up-to-date information, and use your best judgment:
I’m anxious about the developing situation or have personal concerns. Who should I talk to?
The counseling centers are prepared to assist you:
- Tampa Counseling Center: 813-974-2831
- St. Petersburg Wellness Center: 727-873-4422
- Sarasota-Manatee Counseling and Wellness Center: 941-487-4254
For the official University of South Florida communications and links to up-to-date information on COVID-19, please visit usf.edu/coronavirus.