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Friday, September 22, 2023


UH implements policies to prevent coronavirus clusters at Greek life communities

The University will not be allowing in-person Greek life gatherings at the Bayou Oaks townhouses. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

The University will not be allowing in-person Greek life gatherings at the Bayou Oaks townhouses. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

While other Texas universities have had Greek life chapter-wide quarantines as a response to COVID-19 outbreaks, the University has not announced any coronavirus clusters from it’s Greek communities.

In an effort to limit coronavirus spread, the University is prohibiting social events from taking place in the on-campus townhouses. They are also requiring students to follow social distancing guidelines within the townhouses.

For the Fall 2020 semester, no social events within the townhouses will be permitted,” said UH spokesperson Shawn Lindsey. “Additionally, students must wear face coverings while in their townhouse and adhere to the appropriate physical distancing guidelines of 6 ft. between people as set by the University.”

Furthermore, visitors to the Greek life townhouses can only enter the houses’ common spaces, and can’t go into the individual rooms.

Guests are allowed in residential common spaces only — residential lobbies, study lounges, community kitchens and computer labs,” Lindsey said. “Guests are not allowed in residential rooms, apartments or suites.”

Within the common areas at the Bayou Oaks townhouses, a maximum of 20 people can be in the common spaces on the first floor. The University is not allowing any in-person gatherings within the on-campus Greek life housing.

The Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life is not approving any in-person gatherings at Bayou Oaks and has set a maximum capacity of 20 people or less within the first floor including the chapter room, adjoining study and kitchen/foyer areas,” Lindsay said.

Beyond housing, the University is not allowing Greek organizations to have any in-person events for the remainder of the semester. Previously, the Interfraternity Council made an exception allowing in-person gatherings of three people or less for recruitment purposes.

The Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council and United Greek Council have prohibited all in-person social events for the semester, including recruitment events,” Lindsay said. IFC provided a mechanism for small (three-person max) in-person interactions if people wanted to meet for the purposes of recruitment in small groups.”

In the case when a student who lives in a fraternity or sorority house tested positive for the coronavirus, the reporting and isolation process is similar to other University residence halls.

If a student living on campus has tested positive or been diagnosed with coronavirus, Student Housing and Residential Life works with the students to determine accommodations for self-isolation,” Lindsay said. “Individuals identified as close contacts will be required to self-quarantine.”

For students deciding to quarantine on-campus, there are certain areas in different residence halls dedicated to students who are self-isolating.

“There are more than 200 rooms designated at multiple residence halls on campus to safely house on-campus residents needing to quarantine or isolate,” Lindsay said. “So far, there has been relatively little need.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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