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FSU President John Thrasher & wife test positive for COVID-19

FSU President John Thrasher
FSU President John Thrasher (Florida State University photo)

TALLAHASEE, Fla. – Florida State University President John Thrasher and his wife, Jean, have both tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to a statement Tuesday from FSU.

The statement from the university said the president learned of his positive result at 3:45 p.m. after taking a test earlier in the day. Jean Thrasher learned of her diagnosis late Monday night after “a recent stay in the hospital and a local rehabilitation facility for an unrelated condition.”

“I wanted to share with the FSU family that First Lady Jean Thrasher and I have tested positive for COVID-19,” the 76-year-old president said in a tweet after the announcement. “I’m working from home as we both isolate. We are feeling well at this time and truly appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes!”

According to the university, public health authorities are using contact tracing, saying those who have been in close contact with the Thrashers should follow CDC guidelines. It said members of President Thrasher’s staff were tested Tuesday and received negative test results.

FSU said that Thrasher has been a strong proponent of face coverings and social distancing and that he has regularly communicated with the campus community about FSU’s COVID-19 protocols and expectations.

The university remains open for the fall semester and is offering mostly remote instruction with some face-to-face classes.

From Aug. 2 through Saturday, Florida State had 1,500 students and 32 employees test positive for COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, according to statistics posted on the university website. From Sept. 27 through Saturday, the most recent weekly data available, 52 students and one employee tested positive --- with a positivity rate of 2.02 percent of the overall number of people tested.

Thrasher, who has served as president since 2014, recently announced plans to retire, and a search committee is beginning the process to find a replacement. Thrasher, an FSU alum who is an attorney, became president after a political career that included serving as state House speaker, state senator and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida.