- Officials have identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases that are linked to a University of New Hampshire fraternity party.
- More than 100 people attended the Theta Chi party last weekend, and few wore masks, university officials said.
- At least 11 people exposed to the party, or those who have attended, have tested positive for the virus.
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The University of New Hampshire and public-health officials have identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases that are believed to be linked to a Theta Chi fraternity party on August 29, the university said in a statement.
More than 100 people attended the party without masks, according to the university.
“The August 29 party is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. As soon as we heard of this party at Theta Chi, we started an investigation with the Interfraternity Council,” the university’s president, James W. Dean Jr., said in the statement. “We will be pursuing student-conduct charges against the organisers and all students who attended the event.”
So far, at least 11 cases of the coronavirus have been linked to the event, which was attended by students as well as people who don’t attend classes at the institution.
The school’s chapter of Theta Chi was immediately suspended, Dean said, adding that other groups that held parties would face the same penalty.
As colleges reopen to in-person classes, it has proved challenging to limit gatherings among students. Many people have accused colleges of attempting to shift blame onto their students after making the decision to hold in-person instruction.
Greek life has already been hit particularly hard by the virus, as some members continue to host packed parties without social distancing measures in place.
In early July, the University of Washington announced that at least 145 of its students tested positive for the coronavirus in what became known as the “Greek row outbreak.”
A week later, the University of California at Berkeley announced it saw an uptick in new cases â€” to 47 from 23 â€” associated with “a series of recent parties connected to the CalGreek system.”
Schools are limited in what they can enforce at Greek-life houses, as some of the buildings are located off campus on private property, Insider’s Inyoung Choi previously reported.
Many students opted to remain in Greek housing even as in-person classes and gatherings had been banned.
“Let me be clear: This is reckless behaviour and the kind of behaviour that undermines our planning and will lead to us switching to a fully remote mode,” Dean said of hosting gatherings that violate guidelines from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.