The students were not identified and it’s unclear where they traveled or how many people were with them. None have been hospitalized and they are reportedly self-isolating now.
They traveled together with other UT students during the schools’ break which took place from March 8 through 15.
“UT has been notified that five UT students, traveling together and with other UT students during Spring Break, have tested positive for COVID-19,” the school said on Twitter. “We sincerely wish our students, and any others who may be affected, a full and rapid recovery.”
Spring breakers in Florida have been criticized after being captured partying at some of the state’s beaches inside of six feet — the recommended social distancing guideline. Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., had previously refused to shut down the beaches, with the decision being made by local governments.
“[The government] wants you to social distance, of course. But they actually encourage people to get fresh air,” he said, via Politico. “They just don’t want you congregating in big groups. And so if you have a Floridian that goes and walks their dog, like a married couple on the beach, as long as you’re not within six feet of each other, they view that as a healthy thing.”
Last week, DeSantis limited gatherings at Florida beaches to 10 people per group. He issued an executive order Friday calling for strict closures of beaches and businesses in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The mayors of Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa Bay, Naples, and Jacksonville have since closed their beaches.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., told Fox News on Sunday that “spring breakers have forced the shutdown” of beaches in Florida.
He made the comment from self-quarantine via Skype on “Fox & Friends Weekend” Sunday, as beaches and hotels in the Florida Keys are expected to officially close to control the spread of the coronavirus.
“I know a 62-year-old male in good health that is struggling for his life right now so we have got to take this seriously,” Scott said.
Fox News’ Talia Kaplan contributed to this report