Temple University's active COVID-19 cases rise to 318

Temple University reported Friday afternoon that the number of active COVID-19 cases has increased to more than 300.

Those figures include one employee and one off-campus student, the university reported on its website.

The 318 total cases across all campuses represent a more than 33-percent increase since Wednesday, when the figure was 237.

Less than two weeks in, Temple University was forced to cancel in-person classes. Officials said the decision was data-driven as its cases were trending up.

The university says the spread was not caused by large college parties. It was quite the opposite.

"That actually wasn't the issue. The issue were these small social gatherings, a half-dozen people getting together to have pizza and beer and watch a ball game," university spokesman Ray Betzner said earlier this week.

Temple at first announced Sunday that it was moving to online classes for two weeks but on Thursday changed almost all instruction to online for the rest of the semester. Only about 5 percent of classes, deemed essential for in-person teaching, will remain face-to-face, officials say.

The university is issuing full room and board refunds as well as meal refunds for anyone that moves out of a residence hall by Sept. 13.

"Any member of the Temple community who tests positive for COVID-19 will be advised to isolate until symptoms subside, in accordance with best practices," the school's website states. "Johnson and Hardwick Residence Halls will be reserved as isolation space for students living in campus housing who test positive and need a place to isolate. Any person or persons who have had close contact with an infected individual will be notified and provided additional information on steps they should take, including self-quarantining for 14 days."

The city's health commissioner on Thursday urged anyone returning home from campus to try to get a COVID-19 test, as he does not want students who are positive without symptoms to bring back the virus to anyone who is susceptible.

Dean of Students Stephanie Ives posted a letter to students Friday titled "Continue to stay safe," that reads in part, "As we head into Labor Day weekend, I want to stress the seriousness of the moment we're in right now. With a spike in cases around campus, our educational community is now almost exclusively engaged in online instruction and learning. Although many students may be leaving our campus to continue the semester from home, regardless of where we are located, we must recommit fully to the four public health pillars."

Betzner, the school's spokesman, joined "Good Day Philadelphia" on Friday morning to talk more about how Temple has responded to the situation.



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