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‘We hope to lower the numbers, no doubt’: Coronavirus cases at Florida State University top 900

Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida State University President John Thrasher said more than 900 students and 16 employees at the university have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Friday morning.

The president said the spike was expected and most cases trace back to off-campus activities.

Of the 902 student infections reported, eight out of 10 are students living off campus.

Bethany Bartelli is one of those students.

“It was not great,” Bartelli said.

She’s happy with the university’s pandemic response, noting she was infected during a game night with a small group of friends.

“There’s no right option. There’s only a best option and it feels like this is it,” she said.

Thrasher said in-person learning will continue, pointing to some silver linings in the case data.

“We’ve not had any faculty member we know that’s gotten the disease from any student who has attended a face-to-face class. As I said earlier, no faculty member, no student has been hospitalized,” said Thrasher. “Now we hope to lower the numbers, no doubt about it, but we meet every day just about with somebody from the surgeon general’s office, somebody from the (State University System), our own medical advisory committee is involved. So I’m going to look at all of that kind of information before I would actually take that next step.”

While students we’ve spoken with feel the university is doing a good job keeping them safe, their larger concern is for staff and the outlying community.

Bartelli said the Saturday home football game, expected to draw 19,000 students and fans, raises some concerns.

“Revenue that that brings in is important not just for the university, but the community. So is the larger wellbeing of public health,” Bartelli said.

Thrasher told us the game will go on, and is hopeful it will be a success.

“A lot of people have been looking forward to something that at least comes back to some normalcy, but we’re going to do it in a safe way,” he said.

Thrasher said despite recent cases, he believes students are beginning to understand the seriousness of the virus.

The university’s president noted the university is taking steps to discipline students who behave recklessly amid the pandemic but said the university’s primary strategy is education over punishment.

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