Temple University suspends in-person classes after 103 test positive for COVID-19

Coronavirus safety sign at Temple University

Signs with safety precautions are posted all over Temple's North Philly campus. (Mark Henninger/Imagic Digital)

Temple University is suspending in-person classes for two weeks amid a rise in coronavirus infections, school officials announced Sunday.

The university is currently reporting 103 active COVID-19 cases, up from 58 cases on Friday.

Most students who have tested positive for the virus are asymptomatic, Temple University President Richard Englert said in a letter to students, faculty and staff. A small number of students have mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.

“Any increase is concerning, though not necessarily alarming,” Englert wrote. In this instance, he said, the new cases appear to stem from small social gatherings happening off-campus.

All instruction except “essential” classes will take place online through at least Sept. 11. School officials will assess next steps during the temporary move to virtual learning, though they remain hopeful Temple can return to its full hybrid program.

In addition to implementing a two-week pause on in-person instruction, Temple plans to collaborate with Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health to test and contact trace student cases and mitigate further spread.

Temple students who have symptoms should contact Student Health Services and make an appointment to be tested. School officials urged students to continue wearing face-coverings and following social distancing guidelines.

The school also urged students to consider canceling travel plans, including those around the upcoming Labor Day weekend.

Temple’s announcement comes on the heels of the city’s latest coronavirus guidance, issued late Saturday, that college and university students avoid all social gatherings with people outside their households.

“It does not require large social gatherings for this virus to spread,” Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley explained. “Any time two or more people are near each other without wearing masks, there is a risk.”

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