Spike in COVID-19 cases prompt lockdown

Florida COVID-19 cases early November
Florida COVID-19 cases early November
The U.S has surpassed nine million positive Coronavirus cases in November
The U.S has surpassed nine million positive Coronavirus cases in November

By Voice staff

Students can head home earlier for the holidays than expected due to a spike in the number of positive cases of COVID 19 on campus. At the same time, all spring athletic competitions has been cancelled, too, apparently out of caution.

In an email sent out campus wide Monday, President E. LaBrent Chrite said face-to-face classes will end effective Oct. 28. After that date, he said, all classes as well as finals will be remote.

At the same time, he said students have the option of heading home now or waiting until Nov. 20 when finals would be finished.

"After discussions with the University's faculty and academic leadership team, we have concluded that it is in the best interest of our community to begin reducing the on-campus density for the remainder of the fall semester," Chrite said. "Because of spikes in COVID-19, the faculty will be pivoting to an on-line modality, utilizing Canvas and integrating Zoom and other platforms, for the remaining three weeks of the semester."

Officials announced last week that almost three dozen students had tested positive for the coronavirus. Some were asymptomatic, according to John Pittman, vice president for fiscal affairs. Pittman said the school has been conducting random testing of about 150 students a week.

The Voice has heard from one student that had been hospitalized early last week.

In addition to allowing students to leave three week earlier than scheduled, Chrite also said all spring athletics have been cancelled. This come just days after officials had announced the spring football schedule.

"The recent spike in COVID-19 positivity rates in the state, across Volusia County and on our campus provides clear and unambiguous evidence, in our view, that now is not the time simply not the time to resume athletic competition," he said. "While the decision to opt out of spring competition is the only responsible one for us at this time, it was not made lightly. We know that this decision greatly impacts our student athletes, our coaching staff, our Marching Wildcats and others."

He said he will be working with Lynn Thompson, vice president of athletics, and his colleagues "to minimize and ameliorate the impact of this decision."

Students that chose to stay on campus for the reminder of the semester must observe an 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. They also are discouraged from congregating in groups with more than 10 people.