Updates on coronavirus at FAU

The official University Press page for updates on the novel coronavirus' impacts at FAU.

March 13, 2020

This is the official page where the University Press will share updates on the novel coronavirus’ impacts on FAU. We are actively looking for students, staff and faculty whose family members, schooling, work, travel and more are affected by this pandemic to share their stories. If you or anyone you know has been affected, tell us how at [email protected]


Screenshot of a petition calling for FAU to make all classes pass/fail for the rest of the semester.

FAU student creates petition for pass or fail grading option

In less than 24 hours, the petition has gained over 3,000 signatures and students from other Florida schools are doing the same.

After classes were moved online for the remainder of the semester, an FAU student started a petition recommending a pass/ fail option or a curve. In less than 24 hours, it gained over 3,000 signatures.

The petition, started by junior Christian Soto outlined that, because of the campus closure, “it is likely that [student] academic performance will be deeply affected… We believe that the next step is to allow class the option for pass/fail or a generous curve.”

The petition listed time-zones, international students, mental health, family illness, student employment, and difficulty transitioning online as concerns.

It also referenced that institutions like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Smith College have mandated alternative grading for the rest of the school year due to coronavirus.

“We ask that Florida Atlantic University gives us the option to transition from letter grade to pass/fail,” the petition states, “even a generous curve from professors would alleviate stress from FAU students. We hope that Florida Atlantic University enacts this change for the betterment of the student community in these trying and stressful times.”

Soto said he saw students from other universities starting similar petitions and followed suit. 

“I saw other Florida universities doing the same thing: to petition due to the unfairness of the whole situation,” he told the University Press. He also started the petition because of the “added stress for students who learn better in a classroom atmosphere and the fact [that] a good number of people are without work in the hospitality scene, which further adds to stress of paying bills.”

Schools with their own pass or fail petition include: University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida, and University of Miami. 

All the petitions stress a central point –– the pandemic’s effects on academic performance.

Each petition has signatures in the thousands and combined, there are over 33,000 signatures from the six schools that have petitions.

But this isn’t the first COVID-19 related petition made by an FAU student recently. 

The same day as Soto’s petition, junior Austin Wilder created a petition for students to be reimbursed for classes and housing disruptions.

“Students enrolled deserve and demand some reimbursement in the form of discounted tuition as credit towards their accounts,” he wrote.

And last week before an official announcement, junior Christanie Noel started a petition for all classes to be moved online and received 2,767 signatures in support.

“An end to this epidemic is no where near in proximity. This is our new reality and we must adjust accordingly,” she said.

Israel Fontoura is the managing editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected]


FAU's graduation has been canceled due to coronavirus, and the first positive case has been reported at FAU. Photo by Alexander Rodriguez.

First FAU student tests positive for coronavirus, graduation canceled

On Tuesday, FAU and the Florida Board of Governors announced that FAU has its first case of coronavirus, classes will remain online for the rest of the semester and graduation has been canceled.

The Florida Board of Governors, the governing body for most major public Florida universities, announced Tuesday that FAU is required to move its classes online for the remainder of the semester and cancel its spring graduation ceremony.

The first case of coronavirus was also confirmed Tuesday, President John Kelly announced via email. The student is non-residential and “did not interact with other FAU students, faculty or staff,” the Florida Department of Health confirmed, according to the announcement. It is not clear if the student’s case is travel-related. 

“I sincerely wish this student, and all those affected, a full and rapid recovery,” Kelly’s email reads. “This is the first time the university has been informed that anyone associated with FAU has tested positive for this coronavirus.”

It’s not clear how or when graduation will take place. Kelly’s announcement said, “each university will develop alternate schedules or methods of delivery for these commencement ceremonies.”

Student body President Kevin Buchanan said Student Government is not yet considering alternative forms of graduation. 

“[SG is] listening to everything being told by the university as well as the Board of Governors,” he said. “But I’ll be pushing the university to make a plan for there to be one for us later when it is safe to recommend to.”

The decision to move classes entirely online comes after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced in a press conference on Tuesday that four University of Florida students tested positive for the coronavirus, according to UF’s student newspaper.

According to the Florida Department of Health, there are nine confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Palm Beach County and 43 in Broward County as of publication time. 

Kristen Grau is the editor-in-chief of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet her at @_kristengrau.


Interior of the Atlantic Dining Hall. Photo by Andrew Fraieli

Where and when you can eat at FAU next week

Here are the hours for the Food Court and Atlantic Dining Hall for the upcoming week.

FAU announced this week that it is transitioning to 100 percent remote instruction starting March 16 through March 30.

While the Department of Housing and Residential Education has encouraged students to remain off-campus, some students remain in residence halls and student apartments. 

Students who remain on campus during this period are asked to visit their residence hall/student apartment main desk to notify the staff. In addition, students who are returning to campus must contact the Department of Housing and Residential Education ahead of their return at 561.297.2880 or [email protected].

Here’s where and when you can eat on campus until March 22. Although that is before students are expected to return to campus, a dining representative said the hours may be adjusted after March 22.

Atlantic Dining Hall

According to FAU Dining Services’ website, the periods in between meals will be used for sanitizing and cleaning.


  • 7:30 a.m. – 10 a.m. for breakfast
  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. for lunch
  •  4 p.m. – 8 p.m. for dinner

Saturday and Sunday

  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. for brunch
  • 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. for dinner

Einstein Bros Bagels


  • 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. 


  • 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. 



  • 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. 


  • 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Outtakes (Breezeway)


  • 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 


  • 7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

Pizza Hut


  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 


  • 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. 



  • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 


  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 

Pollo Tropical


  • 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 


  • 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. 



  • 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Students who are returning to campus to collect anything such as devices, textbooks and other material to continue their coursework remotely are welcome to do so, according to housing announcements. However, they should notify their residence hall/apartment main desk while doing so.

Nichole Meyer is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]


Conference USA, which FAU is a member, has suspended the rest of the season for spring sports. Photo courtesy of Conference USA.

Conference USA suspends remainder of season for spring sports

All FAU sports will be suspended until further notice due to concerns over coronavirus.

Because of the coronavirus outbreak, Conference USA decided Thursday to suspend spring sport competition until further notice.

The men’s basketball team won their first round game against Old Dominion and was set to take on North Texas in the quarterfinals, but with restricted attendance. Originally, the conference basketball tournament was going to continue, but it wouldn’t be open to the general public. 

“All remaining games will be played with the official team party, student-athlete family, credentialed media, television and radio crews and essential personnel,” Conference USA said in a statement Wednesday. 

The next day, large-scale conferences around the country such as the SEC, ACC and others cancelled their tournaments. C-USA followed suit soon after.

The same thing goes for the women’s side of the bracket, however, the Owls were eliminated in the first round to UTEP, 95-67.

While the basketball teams were in the postseason, the baseball and softball season was in full swing, but now that has come to a halt. FAU baseball’s game against Penn on March 11 was cancelled due to the threat of the coronavirus, but softball’s last game was against FGCU on March 10.

The football season starts in the fall, but in the spring, the team conducts practices in late March which eventually leads to the spring game in mid-April. With the conference suspension of spring sports activities, that also is at a suspended until further notice. 

It is yet to be determined when the programs will come back, but it’s not just collegiate sports that have stopped play. The NBA, MLB, NHL and MLS are just a couple of the professional leagues that have taken drastic measures to prevent the spread of the illness by cancellation. 

Besides the sports programs, FAU announced Wednesday that the university is temporarily transitioning to “remote instruction” beginning on Mar. 16 with in-person class expected to resume on Mar. 30.

Zachary Weinberger is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.

FAU announces classes go online-only starting Monday

FAU is moving classes fully online for approximately two weeks — as of Wednesday — due to coronavirus concerns.

Editor’s note: This story is developing and will be updated with more information.

All FAU classes are moving online starting Monday due to concerns over coronavirus, FAU announced via email Wednesday. The shift will “tentatively” go through March 30, the announcement read.

No cases of coronavirus have been reported at FAU, according to the university’s advisory page. 

This comes after Florida’s Board of Governors, the governing body for most major Florida public colleges, instructed FAU to direct students not to return to campus after spring break. 

FAU’s announcement says that all essential services — dining, counseling, health service and the library — will be available remotely or “on a limited basis.”

The announcement says that students living on campus are able to stay there, but guests will not be permitted.

In response, the library is introducing ways to access it online that you can view here.

If you have questions about coronavirus in regards to FAU that you’d like answered, email [email protected] or tweet us at @upressonline.

Kristen Grau is the editor-in-chief of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

FAU suspends travel to China, South Korea due to coronavirus

FAU announced last week that they were suspending university-related travel to South Korea. FAU suspended travel to China on Feb. 4.

In response to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading across the globe, Florida Atlantic University is placing university-related travel restrictions.

Last week, FAU announced via email they would suspend travel to South Korea — and suspended travel to China on Feb. 4. 

According to the update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Level 3 travel warning to South Korea, which says that all nonessential travel to South Korea should be avoided at this time. 

The travel advisory in China, according to the US State Department, remains a Level 4, or “Do Not Travel.” According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a strand of coronavirus that has never been seen before, and was first reported in Wuhan, China in December. 

FAU advised students in the warning to be weary of flu-like symptoms such as shortness of breath, fever or a cough as these appear to be the symptoms experienced by those who have tested positive for the virus. 

The Florida Department of Health announced Monday that the first two cases of coronavirus were officially confirmed in the Tampa Bay area. 

The announcement also describes some preventative measures students can take to avoid catching the lethal virus. These include washing your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands, avoiding people who are sick, staying home if you are sick and disinfecting objects or surfaces before touching them.

The Miami Herald also reported that the three Department of Health labs in Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa can test for coronavirus as of Saturday. 

Students with health concerns should contact FAU Student Health Services at 561-297-3512. For further questions, students may also email FAU’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety at [email protected].

Check back with the UP for updates. 

Fallon Forrestel is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]

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