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Temple University suspends in-person classes for 2 weeks due to spike in COVID-19 cases

The school lists 103 active cases on its public dashboard after 58 new cases were reported Friday.
Credit: AP
Temple University in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA — Temple University announced it is suspending in-person instruction for two weeks due to a spike in COVID-19 cases among students and staff.

In a letter to the Temple community Sunday, university president Richard Englert said the move is a precaution after 58 new active cases were reported Friday, bringing the school's total to 103.

Temple conducted more than 5,000 tests in the last two weeks, Englert said.

"Most of these students testing positive are asymptomatic; a small number have mild to moderate flu-like symptoms," Englert said in his letter. "Any increase is concerning, though not necessarily alarming. In this instance, we appear to be seeing new cases that result from small social gatherings happening off campus."

The spike in cases prompted the university to "implement the flexability embedded in the comprehensive plans we developed earlier this year," Englert said. 

"After reviewing this new information, we are instituting a two-week 'pause' for in-person classes, and an extensive collaboration with (The Philadelphia Department of Health) to test and contact trace student cases and minimize further spread."

Students taking in-person classes will switch to an online format beginning today and lasting through Sept. 11, Englert said. Only classes designated as essential by the dean of a school or college will be held in-person during this period, and students in those classes will be notified.

Classes which are already online will not be impacted by this decision, Englert said.

While in-person learning is suspended, Englert said, "an assessment of the situation will be made during this period to determine the best course moving forward."

Englert said he is hopeful that Temple will be able to return to the full hybrid program put in place at the beginning of the semester, "but any such decision will be driven by the data and public health guidance available at the time."

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