(BLOOMINGTON) – Indiana University’s COVID-19 mitigation testing has detected an alarming increase of positive tests within Greek, Evans Scholars and Christian Student Fellowship houses at IU Bloomington. Because these are cases of community transmission (within the houses), the university has directed all houses to suspend in-person organizational activities other than dining and housing for live-in members until at least Sept. 14, 2020. No IU residence halls are included in these measures.
The Monroe County Health Department has given notice to eight Greek houses that members must quarantine, meaning all members must stay in their houses for 14 days. The IU Bloomington Division of Student Affairs has issued a directive reinforcing this notice.
Around 2,600 students live in Greek, Evans Scholars and Christian Student Fellowship houses on campus out of the more than 40,000 students at IU Bloomington.
A list of houses directed to quarantine can be found on the Division of Student Affairs website. IU’s public health officers are monitoring other houses to discern spread within those communities.
IU leadership has been working with fraternity and sorority chapters since the onset of COVID-19 given the special risk factors associated with this specific type of communal living. As residences not owned or operated by the university, housed Greek and student organizations were instructed to develop their own specific isolation and quarantine plans following guidance and recommendations from IU and the Monroe County Health Department. IU will continue to work with the Monroe County Health Department to support chapters during this time.
IU administration anticipated positive COVID-19 cases and created plans and procedures to mitigate the virus on all IU campuses. IU continues to closely monitor the number of cases and conduct mitigation testing and contact tracing, alongside other prevention efforts. This action taken early in the fall semester, which began this week, is critical to taking control of this type of community transmission.
While IU may continue to see additional cases identified in congregate housing locations, the risk of transmission will be greatly reduced by students and others in the IU community avoiding parties and gatherings as well as complying with other health and safety practices required by the university.
Complete information about IU’s COVID-19 efforts are on the fall2020.iu.edu site.
Information from Chuck Carney of News at IU Bloomington