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The University of Florida has advised faculty members that they cannot exclude students over coronavirus fears, according to a Friday report from The Gainesville Sun. There have been no cases of the deadly virus at the university, however, at least one professor had reportedly tried to shut out students with flu-like symptoms like coughing.
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The Gainesville-based campus is home to more than 6,000 international students, only a small fraction of which are from China – the country where the current outbreak originated.
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An official statement was issued to the deans and department chairs of the University of Florida via email on behalf of the school’s provost Joseph Glover, which was obtained by the Fresh Take Florida news service.
"We are aware that some instructors have asked students who are showing visible cold- or flu-like symptoms to leave class and return with a letter from the Student Health Care Center confirming that they do not have coronavirus," the statement began. "Please remind your instructors that no cases of coronavirus have been reported at UF or elsewhere in Alachua County and that this area has not been identified as an area of public health concern by the CDC."
The statement continued, "While instructors are encouraged to care for their students and their health, please inform your instructors that they are not to excuse a student from class to confirm they are free of the coronavirus."
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Accompanying the statement was a link to an updated report by the university's health center director that confirmed there are no active coronavirus cases on the campus.