University ramps up COVID-19 discipline after rise in campus positivity rate

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Ryan Ash

Students socialize on the Main Quad as Foellinger Auditorium stands prominently in the background on Saturday evening.

By Heather Robinson, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Over the next two weeks, the University will increase efforts to remove students who have violated COVID-19 safety guidelines. Chancellor Robert Jones released a Massmail today detailing what is expected of students moving forward. 

After a sharp increase in cases on campus displayed by data from the SHIELD testing program, Chancellor Jones revealed the University may return to all-online learning for the remainder of the semester if students do not comply with the campus’ COVID-19 rules.

Since beginning instruction on Aug. 24, the University has confirmed over 400 new positive cases, with almost double the individuals currently in quarantine. 

The University projects that due to the number of new cases progressing daily, the rate of new cases will double weekly if students do not comply. 

Students who do not follow the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District (CUPHD) instructions will be suspended immediately. In addition, students who fail to follow the rules may face fines of up to $750 per day in violation of the Champaign-Urbana emergency orders.

Starting Wednesday at 5 p.m. and continuing for the next two weeks, students will be limited to only essential in-person activities, such as attending class, taking COVID-19 tests twice weekly, going to work, seeking medical attention, making essential purchases or any individual outdoor activities. 

During this period, all social gatherings are strictly prohibited by the University. In addition, students are urged not to travel during Labor Day weekend, as many of the positive cases on campus so far were brought from outside communities. 

The CUPHD will help identify those who have tested positive or were exposed to the virus. The University has also been monitoring large gatherings after a flood of complaints about fraternities and sororities violating safety regulations. 

Last weekend alone, the University responded to over 100 calls concerning on-campus parties. The Pi Kappa Phi fraternity is on interim suspension after hosting a large party over the weekend. Another individual student is facing the same consequence after hosting a large party at his apartment on Friday. 

In addition to attending large gatherings, some students have attempted to avoid testing and directives to isolate and quarantine. Currently, an estimated 100 students are facing discipline for violating COVID-19 guidelines over the weekend. 

One student uploaded a video on social media attempting to show students how to “circumvent” the Safer Illinois app. Those who witness any instances of non-compliance may file a report on the University’s COVID-19 Enforcement Form

Chancellor Jones concluded the message with a final statement to leave students and faculty with:

“We’ve given ourselves a real chance to come together and to stay together.

But the decision to do so is in your hands.

We stay together. Or we go home.

It comes down to these next two weeks.

It is up to you.” 

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Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Phi Kappa Phi is on interim suspension. The fraternity on suspension is Pi Kappa Phi. The Daily Illini regrets this error.