Public Health Madison and Dane County directed 420 UW-Madison students from nine Greek life chapters to quarantine themselves, the university announced Friday.
The directive comes after the university confirmed 38 positive cases of covid-19 among the nine chapters affected by the order. According to university data, there have been 462 total positive cases so far among students and staff in Madison. Classes at the university began on Wednesday, just two days before the order.
The nine chapter houses include Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Chi Psi, Delta Chi, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Theta Delta Chi.
According to students involved, a tenth chapter facility was asked to quarantine immediately on Friday night.
The Daily Cardinal first learned of the order after University Call Center employees were notified of the plan in an email addressing the uptick in covid-19 cases among the FSL community, specifically among chapter facility residents. The university later sent a press release announcing the directive.
According to the email, the students’ quarantine will last 14 days after the last confirmed positive case in their respective chapter, so the total quarantine “may be more than two weeks.”
In addition, all live-in Greek Life participants must be tested for Covid between Sep. 8 and Sep. 11, according to the release and email. Testing sites will be administered for FSL members, but students are welcome to visit the UHS-facilitated site located in Henry Mall.
Quarantined students who are not COVID-positive will be permitted to exit chapter facilities on Tuesday, Sept. 8 for required COVID-19 testing administered at the Fluno Center.
Greek life organizations at UW-Madison have approximately 1,500 live-in members and 5,000 total members, according to the university.
In their statement, UW-Madison said the direction to quarantine came from Public Health Madison and Dane County (PHMDC), in coordination with the university.
Punishment for breaking the quarantine may include court orders for involuntary quarantine and fines of up to $10,000 from PHMDC in addition to university sanctions, the statement said. A previous UW communication to students threatened suspensions for those breaking public health guidelines.
The statement also says the university will require all live-in members of greek life organizations to be tested, a departure from the testing plan that forms the basis of the UW’s “Smart Restart” policies, which stated that only UW Housing employees and residents would be subject to mandatory testing.