Eight students receive suspensions as reports of COVID-19 violations flow in

Students+party+in+the+driveway+of+a+house+located+on+First+Street+on+Aug.+28.+Some+on+campus+residents+received+court+notices+due+to+breaking+social+distancing+measures.++The+students+pictured+are+not+necessarily+those+that+received+court+notices.

Ryan Ash

Students party in the driveway of a house located on First Street on Aug. 28. Some on campus residents received court notices due to breaking social distancing measures. The students pictured are not necessarily those that received court notices.

By Ethan Simmons, News Editor

Eight University students have been placed on interim suspension for violating COVID-19-related policies, while hundreds more reports are being investigated, school officials confirmed at a Senate Executive Committee meeting on Monday. 

A total of 273 reports of potential COVID-19 policy violations were sent to the University last week, 270 of them involving students. 

“Most of the alleged violations are for social distancing noncompliance or the mask and face covering noncompliance,” said Stephen Bryan, dean of student support and advocacy, at Monday’s meeting. 

The number of reported gatherings on and around campus fell from 20 during Labor Day weekend to just five last weekend, Bryan added. 

These reports were sent through the University’s online COVID-19 enforcement form and to the Office of Student Conflict Resolution’s email address, [email protected] 

University administrators have pointed to the number of students breaking quarantine directives for some of the unforeseen spread, though that number also fell. 

While 43 students broke quarantine or isolation directives two weeks ago, only 24 did last week, Bryan said. 

Bryan rejected the idea that students are shirking masks for political reasons. 

“As I’ve been out on the party scene riding around, I haven’t encountered that notion at all that it’s a resistance to wearing the mask because of the political environment,” Bryan said. “Instead, I’ve encountered more of a notion of I’m invincible — what we would typically see at this 17 to 21 year old age range of: ‘It’s not gonna happen to me, or if it does, it’s not that big of a deal.’”

Bryan touted the efforts of SHIELD Team 30, a group of Student Affairs employees who work to contact students who test positive for COVID-19 within half an hour of their results’ arrivals. 

According to Bryan, 99% of COVID-19-positive students respond within a minute of receiving a text from the SHIELD team, affirming that they understand their isolation expectations. 

Nearly 2,000 students have tested positive for COVID-19 using the on-campus saliva tests since the program began in July. 

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