By IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News
(PHILADELPHIA) — Many students at Temple University headed back home this weekend, less than a month after they moved into their dorms, as COVID-19 concerns forced the school to switch almost all of its fall semester classes online.
Between Aug. 10 and Aug. 28, 333 coronavirus cases were confirmed on campus, according to Temple’s COVID-19 tracker. The positivity rate increased from 0.71% to 10.12% during that period, according to the Philadelphia school’s data.
On Sept. 3, school officials announced that due to the rising cases, it was going to shift all “non-essential” fall semester classes, roughly 95% of all courses, to online only. It gave students who lived on campus the option to leave by Sept. 13 with a full refund of their housing and meal plan charges.
Parents from around the country arrived at the campus to pick up students this weekend and they had mixed feelings about the change in plans.
“It’s a lot of back and forth, and it’s inconvenient, but at the same time they make the right decision for the students and the faculty,” Danna Jennings, a parent of a freshman, told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV Saturday.
A representative from Temple University told ABC News they did not have a tally on the number of on-campus students who moved out. All students who opted to return home were offered free testing, according to the representative.
Some students told WPVI that they decided to stay on campus because it was harder to take their classes online and at home.
“I live four hours away, and I’m an art major, so I want to use the facilities here,” freshman Astrid Hakvaag told the station. “Because in my area, we don’t have this technology at my disposal.”
For the students who decided to remain on campus for their classes, the school will make accommodations.
“In order to maintain a sense of community, students who remain in the residence halls after Sunday, Sept. 13 may be asked to relocate. For example, no student will be left to reside on a floor alone, and any revised accommodations will be comparable to the student’s original choice,” the school said in a statement.
The students who remain on campus are expected to move out at the end of the semester in November.
“Although residential plans for spring 2021 are undetermined at the present time, residential students will be given as much preference as possible in the spring, as conditions allow,” the school said.
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.