U.S. college campuses are COVID-19 hotspots, but local college campus COVID-19 case numbers remain low

COVID on campus

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Colleges across the nation are becoming hot spots for the coronavirus.

Florida State University is up to 1,250 COVID-19 cases between August 2nd and September 11th.

The University of Florida is up to 347 COVID-19 positive cases, with data last updated on Tuesday, September 15th.

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Action News Jax Courtney Cole breaks down the number of cases at our local colleges and universities.

Madelyn Pichardo and Earl Johnson, both students at UNF, told Cole there are a lot of things they miss about what college was like before the pandemic.

“It’s definitely a big change, you know? The on-campus feeling of being out with your friends every day, eating after class together,” Pichardo said.

UNF, Jacksonville University, and FSCJ campuses have taken steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like making classes virtual, allowing some faculty to still work from home, and discouraging large gatherings.

Pichardo told Action News Jax she always wears a mask, washes her hand, and practices social distancing to protect herself.

She also told Cole many students she knows are also going the extra mile to stay safe by making the decision to live off-campus.

Here are the latest positive COVID-19 case numbers of students and employees, year-to-date:

  • UNF has had 87 cases
  • FSCJ has had 16 cases
  • JU has had 23 cases

Action News Jax reached out to Edward Waters College for their COVID-19 case numbers, but they did not respond before Cole’s deadline.

The data only reflects students who have chosen to get tested for coronavirus.

Across the nation, some students are choosing not to, because they don’t want to live in quarantine housing.

Dr. Chad Neilsen, the Director of Accreditation and Infection prevention at UF Health said he believes that means schools need to work harder to make students feel comfortable putting their health first.

“Students wouldn’t be hesitant to test and get put into isolation if the universities are really doing things correctly. Providing the transportation to get to the lodging, Wright and them get logged in, with good care packages, delivery, whatever they need,” said Dr. Neilsen.

Pichardo and Johnson told Cole they don’t personally know anyone who is COVID-19 positive, and they’re hoping it stays that way.

Dr. Neilsen told Action News Jax the most important thing college campuses can do when a student is confirmed to be COVID-19 positive is to keep them on campus.

If not, he said they could travel home and potentially spread the virus to family, grandparents, and other people.