COVID at the University of Washington

Media Reports:

From the Office of the President at UW, October 7, 2020:

“Minimizing the spread of COVID-19 is a university priority, and critical to the overall health of our community.  We share your concern and frustration about the recent outbreak in the Greek community.

The University implemented a variety of measures to protect and promote health in our student population as they returned for Autumn quarter.

  • The University announced early that it would be primarily online.  Only 5% of our classes are currently meeting in person.
  • In follow-up to a similar outbreak this summer, Greek chapters now have COVID-19 safety and prevention plans informed by state and local public health requirements.
  • The University offered “move in” testing to the Greek community at the beginning of September, with over 1200 members tested. The University also offers the opportunity for all students to get tested through the Husky Coronavirus Testing program. Nearly 2,000 Greek members are enrolled and have the opportunity to receive testing every 72 hours.
  • The University is working in close partnership with Public Health Seattle King County on contact tracing, isolation and quarantine procedures and ongoing education.  King County and university public health officials meet regularly with the leadership, advisors, and house corps to share information, reinforce expectations, and answer questions.

The majority of Greek students and leadership are taking the pandemic seriously and complying with public health measures.  We recognize, however, that some are not.  Each sorority and fraternity house is privately owned by a board of alumni/ae and the UW does not have the authority to close them.  Suspending university affiliation, as some have suggested, also does not close the facility nor require anyone move out of the residence.  In response to ongoing concerns about continued social gatherings, UW & King County Public Health have recently informed the Chapter Presidents of Residential-based Fraternities and Sororities, Chapter Advisors, House Corporation Presidents, Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Association of additional enforcement actions if a student or group of students continue to fail to comply with UW guidance and Public Health guidance. You can read more (here). The Interfraternity Council (IFC) issued a moratorium on all social related activities and any reported will be adjudicated and appropriate sanctions levied.

If you see activities of concern, please do not hesitate to refer those to, or to David Hotz, Director of the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life, at Our highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of our community and working diligently to prevent further transmission of COVID-19.”

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