This article has been updated with a copy of the University's Stay-at-Home order.
College administrators announced new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a temporary cessation of in-person instruction and a stay-at-home order in dormitories, after more than 50 positive cases were detected in the student body in the past 48 hours. The announcement, sent to students in the College on Wednesday night noted that “many of these cases may have been connected to one or more parties held by off-campus fraternities over the last week.”
Students in residence halls must complete a week-long stay-at-home period and can only leave their dorms for food, medical appointments, or brief walks. The stay-at-home period will last until April 15, although the email states that it could be extended if COVID-19 cases on campus have not subsided by then.
All classes and “non-curricular” programming will become fully remote for at least seven days beginning Thursday, and meals from the dining halls will only be available on a takeout basis. Residence hall lounges, music practice rooms, and courtyard spaces will also be closed for at least seven days.
The email further urged students who have recently attended a party or “unmasked gathering” to be tested for COVID-19 immediately and to cooperate with the University’s Contact Tracing Team should they be contacted. University officials wrote that they suspect that the new cases may involve the B.1.1.7. variant, commonly known as the “U.K. variant,” which is more contagious and more deadly than the original strain of the virus.
There have been 918 reported cases of COVID-19 among the University community from September 18, 2020, through the current week. University administrators added that additional steps, such as “placing further restrictions on in-person activities for Spring Quarter or scaling back planned College Convocation events,” may be necessary should the spread of cases continue.