The Delta Upsilon chapter house is home to sophomore and junior members of Delta Upsilon fraternity. After remote learning caused members to move out of the house, members are hoping they will get a partial refund of their chapter dues. (Sydney O'Tapi/B&W Staff)

Fraternities face charges for university COVID-19 safety violations

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Since the beginning of the Spring 2021 semester, three of Lehigh’s Interfraternity Council chapters have received disciplinary actions for disregarding campus-wide COVID-19 public health regulations.

Delta Upsilon is currently facing two conduct charges. The first, which involves 15 people entering members’ off-campus residence, is not in compliance with the university’s five-person gathering rule. Additionally, the chapter also hosted an in-person fraternity recruitment event, resulting in the chapter being placed on modified temporary status.

Alpha Tau Omega has allegedly hosted an off-campus party that included the distribution of alcohol.

Lastly, Chi Phi has been charged with hosting a “COVID” super-spreader party, in which some attendees had tested positive for the virus in conjunction with other guests who had previously contracted COVID-19. 

The first three weeks of the university’s surveillance testing resulted in 379 active cases as of Feb. 18, totalling 597 positive student cases since the beginning of the calendar year. 

Last Friday, Feb. 12, Vice President of Student Affairs Ric Hall sent out an email to students outlining stricter social distancing guidelines to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 within the Lehigh community. These included no student contact outside their own residences and limiting outings to stores strictly for medical needs. 

In addition to a rising campus positivity rate, which peaked at 10.2 percent on Feb. 9, Lehigh students’ contraction of COVID-19 impacts the City of Bethlehem and Northampton County instrumentally. Within the last week Northampton has averaged 132 new cases each day putting them at Pennsylvania’s second highest per capita infection rate at 43 new cases per 100,000 people.

As a result of unanticipated high positivity rates among the student population, Lehigh has continued surveillance testing past their initial intended two-week arrival window in order to monitor the spread. Originally they planned to only test 50 percent of the campus every other week, but given heightened concern they continued to test the population in its entirety into the third week of the semester.

Beginning the week of Feb. 22 the university will be testing students who are randomly selected. Approximately 50 percent of the campus will be tested each week and all students should anticipate being selected every two weeks for the remainder of the semester.

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