In the university of Washington, Sorority sisters have been compelled to quarantine in their houses’ basements, due to the new rapid outbreak of COVID-19 on Greek row. UW reported 212 new cases of COVID-19, across 15 and sororities and fraternities as students resumed classes for the fall.
They reported over 179 cases on Tuesday afternoon, and 131 cases on Friday.
A outbreak was previously experienced in the school. When this happened, the number of each house’s residents we’re cut to half by the school’s chapter leaders. They started rush week online and banned all social event prior to the semester.
Many Greek life members told the Daily Beast anonymously that the procedures taken to curb the outbreak were not enough, and now they are trying to curb the latest outbreak by quarantining people using their basements and preventing stalls in shared bathrooms.
‘I don’t think people learned their lesson from the summer,’ one sorority member said. ‘I think they just see it as a way to say they’re immune and continue to go out.’
The school tested 1,250 people out of around 2,000 students living in the university’s Greek Row, and only four cases were found. Around 3,400 people were living in the school’s Greek Row, but number was cut due to the outbreak.
The Interfraternity Council found 88 cases across eight diverse organizations when classes resumed on September 30. The number increased to about 100 by the following day. This was reported by the Daily UW.
IFC president Erik Johnson wrote in an email last week that: ‘I’m chiefly concerned about the health and safety of our members and believe that our chapters are well-prepared to both keep COVID-19 out of their facilities and handle it effectively if a member does become infected.’
Geoffrey Gottlieb, medical director for the schools environmental health and safety department, also pleaded that anyone who was in contact with any Greek life members should get tested with immediate effect.
He wrote in a message on October 2 that:‘The UW Greek community is experiencing a significant outbreak of COVID-19 cases spread across multiple fraternity and sorority houses, associated ‘live-outs’ and individual members.’
He also explained that confirmed cases have ‘increased rapidly over the last several days’.
A sorority member told the Daily Beast that that three of her sisters were tested positive for the virus during the routine screening and by the end of the day, 9 cases were found in the the house, which was inhabited by around 40 women. She further said that prior to the next weekend, 21 cases were reported on the house.
‘There’s not many healthy girls left, if we’re honest,’ the sorority member told the Daily Beast. ‘At this point it’s like, all of the girls who are in the house are sick, so it’s not as big of a deal. They’re just staying in the house and focusing on getting better.
A closed signed was pasted on the door of a fraternity house in the Greek row.
The sorority member sighted that the house has been doing all they can to prevent the remaining women from being infected. The members of the house were cut to half, giving each member their own room. But, problem arises in places that are shared such as the bathroom and laundry facilities.
The sorority announced that it had been working with the health department within the summer to figure out a safety plans.
She also said that Greek life members were not taking the virus like they were supposed to. She said such an outbreak should have been expected in any large communal living environment.
‘We’re dealing with an uphill battle that can’t really be contained by us,’ a member of the sorority said. ‘All we can do is do our best to limit the spread.’
Several questions were raised about the capacity of school to handle the huge amount of students that would arrive back on campus in the fall.
A sorority member reported to the Daily Beast that the outbreak in their house was traced to two sophomores who met with men at a ‘live-out’, which is not an official house for specific members of a fraternity.
A fraternity brother also said he had recently hosted at least 30 people in his ‘live-out’.
The University of Washington first experienced an outbreak in June. 154 out of 1,100 students that lived in frat houses in the were tested positive for the virus.
On October 6, a letter was written to the chapter leaders by the university warning them about possible consequences if they violate local health orders.
These consequences may comprise of dismissal, suspension, or a notice to chapter house landlords.
Other Universities took the same steps. Entire chapters have been suspended in many cases for violating the order. Nearby police at the university of Washington has started issuing fines for anybody caught partying.
However, not a single student has been sanctioned in UW. The school reported to the Daily Beast that it had been striving to take a ‘more positive and collaborative approach’ to the predicament.
Johnson, president of the IFC, told KATU that members of the fraternity spend a lot of time in their rooms and have been wearing face masks in public areas, he also said they have been sanitizing common surfaces they touch.
Even with this, a fraternity member said he believes cases will continue to rise unless substantial changes are made.
He said many people think that “I’m a healthy young person and I’m only seeing other relatively healthy young people, what can go wrong?”. “Unless this scare really actually gets to people, I don’t really think that it’s gonna get better very soon.”