OSU Sorority Isolated after 23 Women Test Positive for COVID

Mike Seals - August 18, 2020 9:23 am

OSU's new "One-Brand" Logo. via @okstate/Twitter

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Women living at an off-campus sorority house at Oklahoma State University have been placed in isolation and are prohibited from leaving the house after 23 of them tested positive for COVID-19, university officials confirmed on Monday.

“Due to the nature of this situation, the entire chapter house is in isolation or quarantine and will be prohibited from leaving the facility,” the university said in statement. “One member of the sorority who lives elsewhere is among those who tested positive and will also remain in isolation.”

A widely circulated video shows dozens of students without masks packed into a Stillwater nightclub over the weekend.

“As a student, I’m frustrated as hell,” said Ryan Novozinsky, an OSU junior from Allentown, New Jersey, and the editor of the student newspaper. “These are people I have to interact with.

“People will tell you this age group isn’t affected, but there’s always outliers with diseases, and there will be professors they interact with, starting today, that won’t be able to fight this off.”

The university said in a separate statement on Monday that officials were “disappointed” by the behavior exhibited by some students.

“Attending large dance parties where neither mask wearing nor social distancing occurred showed a clear disregard for the protocols set forth by both the university and the city of Stillwater,” the statement read.

Overall, OSU reported fewer than 1% of the students who were tested for the coronavirus before moving into campus housing tested positive.

OSU has a combination of in-person and online courses, and students, staff and faculty are required to wear masks indoors and outdoors where social distancing isn’t possible.

The City of Stillwater also has a mandate that masks be worn inside businesses, but police Capt. Kyle Gibbs said the department doesn’t typically respond to reports of mask violations.

“We respond to requests for businesses for assistance,” Gibbs said. “For example, if a business calls us because a patron will not wear a mask and will not leave the business.”

Meanwhile, a local dance hall, the Tumbleweed, is moving ahead with plans for a three-day music festival this weekend dubbed “Weedstock.”

Stillwater Mayor Will Joyce said he has concerns about the event, but noted the dance hall is located outside the city limits.

“It is not the right time for thousands of people to gather for a 3-day music festival,” Joyce tweeted.

 

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