UW races to respond to dozens of COVID-19 cases at fraternity, sorority houses

Published: Sep. 4, 2020 at 2:03 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Dozens of members of nine UW-Madison fraternity and sororities houses were ordered to isolate themselves after they tested positive for COVID-19 soon after returning to campus.

The university announced the move early Friday afternoon. The 38 students will need to self-quarantine for 14 days. Executive Director of University Health Services Jake Baggott explaining it was trying to end the spread of the virus “quickly and thoroughly.”

“Our goal is to stop any further spread of the virus among our students and the broader community,” he said.

Those who tested positive will be directed to isolate and UW’s Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life has carved out spaces where they can do so, according to the university.

All other members of the affected fraternities and sororities have until next Tuesday to head to the university testing site for their own test. Those who have tested positive in the past 90 days and are no longer in isolation will not need a test or be required to quarantine. Those who have previously tested positive were directed to report it to UHS by email at him@uhs.wisc.edu.

Beyond these nine chapters, all live-in members of the other 38 Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic (PHA) chapters with live-in chapter houses will be required to get tests as well.

“We are committed to addressing concerns and risks quickly in order to keep everyone in our community as safe as possible,” says Lori Reesor, vice chancellor for student affairs. “Our students’ commitment to following public health directives is an essential part of that effort.”

People who violate their isolation or quarantine orders may be forced by a court to do so and they may face a fine of up to $10,000, Public Health Madison & Dane County warns.

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