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Temple University switched to a fully remote fall semester after 236 students tested positive for COVID-19.

Credit: Chase Sutton

Temple University moved almost all instruction online for the remainder of the fall semester after reporting more than 200 COVID-19 cases less than two weeks after in-person classes began.

Temple's decision comes several weeks after other Philadelphia colleges, including Penn and Drexel University, decided to conduct the fall semester remotely. Both Penn and Drexel announced that the fall semester would be entirely remote in August, weeks before classes began.

On Aug. 24, Temple started in-person classes with 10 reported COVID-19 cases. Ten days later, the school had 236 positive cases and made the switch to virtual instruction for “all but essential” courses, according to an email sent to the Temple community today by President Richard Englert and Executive Vice President and Provost JoAnne Epps.

“Unfortunately, the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic are simply too great for our students, faculty, staff and neighboring community,” Englert and Epps wrote.

Prior to switching to virtual instruction for the entire semester, Temple announced the suspension of in-person instruction for two weeks on Aug. 30 after 103 students had tested positive for COVID-19. At the beginning of the semester, Temple was operating under a hybrid model, with a mix of in-person and online instruction.

This decision comes after protests from Temple students and faculty against conducting in-person classes. On the first day of the semester, a group of students and staff from the Temple Association of University Professionals gathered to demand a switch to online instruction, citing safety concerns from in-person classes. 

Temple students have the option to stay in university housing or return home. Those who decide to leave campus will receive a full refund of housing and dining charges, according to Temple's announcement.

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