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With Fall Enrollment Up, USF Aims For In-Person Classes

USF System President Steven Currall talked to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor about plans to resume in-person classes in the fall on the city of Tampa's Facebook Live May 13.
USF System President Steven Currall talked to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor about plans to resume in-person classes in the fall on the city of Tampa's Facebook Live May 13.

With summer classes starting online Monday, University of South Florida officials continue to work on plans for the fall – and there is at least one surprising statistic they are keeping in mind when making any decisions.

Like the latter half of the spring semester, USF's three summer sessions will see all classes conducted remotely to protect students and faculty from spreading the coronavirus.

But plans for the fall semester are still in the works. And System President Steven Currall says the number of students who have submitted deposits for the fall is higher than a year ago.

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“So many people find that surprising, but we're actually ahead where we were a year ago in terms of the number of deposits of students that submitted deposit signaling their intention to enroll,” he said. “So it's a fascinating, somewhat unpredictable environment.”

Currall spoke last week to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor on Facebook Live.

He told her that he wants fall classes to be on campus if possible.

"We think that that it's vital to continue our mission and that involves being a community and being together not just virtually but physically, so we're trying to make wise decisions right now," said Currall.

He said it’s not yet clear though what the semester will look like.

"We're hoping to be able to accommodate those students in an in-person instruction environment, or perhaps a hybrid online and in person instruction environment in the autumn," said Currall.

Currall and other USF officials have previously said that the layouts of classrooms and laboratories would likely be changed to allow for social distancing.

The timing of such an announcement is also still in the works, according to Currall.

“Certainly by early to mid-July, we will have made a decision about the autumn semester,” he said. “We're trying to gather as much information as we can and yet also be prompt and expeditious in announcing our intentions to our current students and prospective students.”

Currall added that the university has refunded millions of dollars in housing and dining fees from the spring semester -- and there should be an announcement soon on how summer fees will be handled.

“We're trying to be very thoughtful about this link between fees and the services that our students get. We also still have fixed costs. And some of those costs have to be covered by student fees,” he said.

“So we're just trying to follow a principle of fairness and thoughtfulness about the way we think about the many different fees that are associated with the services that that we deliver.”

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