33 Active Cases: College Suspends In-Person Events Indefinitely
By Anna Cincotta, Editor-in-Chief, Gauri Mangala, Managing Editor, and Jane Fitzpatrick, Assistant News Editor
- 33 students tested positive for COVID-19 after the second round of baseline testing conducted this past week (including the 13 cases previously reported on Friday).
- The college will place sanctions, including suspension, of “students who have clearly failed to comply with the college’s public health protocols and requirements.”
- All Greek pledging events have been suspended. One sorority has been suspended, and one fraternity is facing disciplinary action after hosting a social gathering without masks and distancing.
- The official Town Hall will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 29.
- The restrictions placed on students this weekend (no formal or informal gatherings) have been extended until further notice
- For now, next week’s classes will continue as planned.
According to an email sent by Bill Lafferty, the Executive Director of Public Safety, there are now 33 confirmed positive cases from the second round of baseline testing.
Immediately following Lafferty’s update, the campus community received a new email from the Fall Return alias stating that affected parties found through contact tracing of these 33 cases will receive testing starting Monday, Aug. 31. The email was signed by President Bob Iuliano, Rich Keeling (the chairman and senior executive consultant of Keeling and Associates), Dean Julie Ramsey, and Provost Chris Zappe.
Students in “close contact” with those who have tested positive are “being directly notified, encouraged to self-quarantine, and remain alert for COVID-19 symptoms.”
On Monday, the college will start testing the “full membership of any groups or residences” linked to the positive cases from the second round of testing. Contact tracing efforts conducted by the college have demonstrated that most—if not all—of the positive cases have resulted from specific gatherings of students. Specific residences have been quarantined and will continue to be quarantined until their test results arrive. These students will be learning remotely.
The college has also suspended any and all pledging activities for new members of Greek organizations. In an email sent to the Greek Life community from Jon Allen, the Director of the Office of Student Activities and Greek Life (OSAGL), new procedures for Greek organizations were outlined: “While new member activities are suspended, the following expectations will be in place: chapters may not host new member education meetings or activities, new members may not attend chapter events or meetings, chapter members may not coordinate gatherings for new members or suggest that new members coordinate gatherings for themselves, new members may not be in residences controlled by organizations or their members including apartments, suites, or houses on or off-campus.”
In the most recent Fall Return email it was also announced that “one sorority has been suspended as a result of a social gathering” and “a fraternity is also facing disciplinary consequences as a result of a social gathering without masks and physical distancing.”
Restrictions placed on formal and informal social gatherings will be extended until further notice. Classes are slated to continue on Monday, and further information on what the college plans to do moving forward will be discussed in the town hall meeting taking place on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 1PM.