On Thursday, Mar. 12, Florida Tech suspended face-to-face classes for the remainder of the spring semester due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with worldwide cases of COVID-19 numbering over 125,000.
Classes will resume online beginning Mar. 23. As of Mar. 13, there were 1,629 cases in the U.S, according to the CDC.
COVID-19 and Florida Tech
Classes have been canceled entirely for the week of Mar. 16, with online instruction beginning Mar. 23.
The university’s FAQ on the Coronavirus states that the decision to shift to online instruction for the remainder of the semester, rather than a shorter period of time, “was made so students could better plan and preserve continuity through the conclusion of the semester.”
The shift includes laboratory courses and senior design projects. The student design showcase has also been canceled.
Institutions ranging from the University of Chicago to Harvard University have closed their dorms, requiring students to leave campus. Florida Tech residence halls and dining services remain open.
Students who remained on or are returning to campus are to fill out a check-in form to remain in campus housing. Along with standard identifying information such as name and student ID number, the form requires students to list any symptoms of illness they are experiencing, the location and date of any recent travel, and if they are self-quarantined.
As stated in an email sent from the Florida Tech Student Life Office on Mar. 13, all student life events and programs have been canceled for the rest of the semester. Prospective student tours will still occur.
Spring commencement has been closed to guests, as announced in a Mar. 10 email from Florida Tech President, T. Dwayne McCay. A graduates only ceremony will instead take place in the Gleason Performing Arts Center.
The announcement came just under two months from the commencement date, which the email states was done in part so families of graduates could adjust their travel plans.
The FAQ also states that tutoring will be moved online, with math and chemistry tutoring continuing on campus in a limited capacity.
At a student leader luncheon on Mar. 5, McCay said that Florida Tech students were still traveling to areas under travel advisories.
“We have students going to Japan and to Italy that we’re aware of,” McCay said. “If you are going to go to one of the areas around, Italy, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, any of those areas, you should let us know.” Japan is currently under a level two travel advisory from the CDC, with high-risk travelers such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions recommended to avoid nonessential travel.
Italy remains at a level three, one of 32 European countries under CDC’s highest level of the travel advisory.
Standard precautions for illness prevention are advised by the CDC.
Proper handwashing includes washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including forearms, backs of hands, and under nails. If soap and water are not available, a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol is advised.
Coughs and sneezes should be covered, and hands washed immediately after.
What to do if you are sick
The CDC states that those who are mildly ill with the Coronavirus are able to recover at home in isolation, with no travel outside of the home except for medical care.
Anyone with a confirmed or possible case of the virus should call ahead to their healthcare provider before going to allow the provider to take precautionary measures.
The CDC also advises that someone ill with the virus should wear a face mask if they must share a space, such as a bedroom or healthcare provider’s office with other people.
Routine cleaning of high-touch surfaces is recommended, including doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, phones, and tabletops.