TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Universities around the state are responding differently to the coronavirus, with some universities sending students living on-campus home, while others are allowing some to stay through the end of the semester.
All of them are looking at ways to refund students for meal plans and housing if they are unable to return to campus.
At Florida State University and at nearby FAMU, campuses are essentially barren with the exception of a few maintenance workers.
FSU has asked all students living on campus not to return if they’ve traveled out of the city, like freshmen Sara Kissane, now staying with her parents in Jacksonville.
“I think that a lot of people are just kind of, not really blindsided, but just kind of upset that the year was cut off so short. Like for me and my roommate, we didn’t even know it was our last night in our dorms when it was,” said Kissane.
FAMU has ordered all students to leave on-campus housing by April 6.
Both universities are offering refunds for students unable to return to the dorms for their housing and meal plans.
“So I think by at least reimbursing the dorm and the food that makes up for not being there and not utilizing those facilities because you’re still doing classes online so the tuition still makes sense,” said Kissane.
But some students remain living on campus, unable to return home like Giulia Grasso who is an international student from Italy.
“That's a pretty bad situation there so I can't come back home because like basically the borders from the US to Italy are closed,” said Grasso.
Most of the state’s universities have opted to allow students to receive a satisfactory or unsatisfactory grade for classes during the spring semester.
The announcements came after tens of thousands of students signed online petitions calling for the option.
FSU and FAMU have also both started funds to help keep food banks stocked, pay for students’ medical bills and provide housing assistance.