Elon University reports surge of COVID clusters related to small social gatherings

Coronavirus

ELON, N.C. — Elon University on Saturday announced new COVID-19 mitigation measures to stem a surge of the virus on campus after reporting 161 new cases with the past week, according to a statement released by the university.

The full statement is provided below:

“Elon Community Members,

As announced Thursday and Friday, we are finding additional cases tied to clusters of cases on campus, including positive test results from students who sought off-campus testing this week. With 61 new positive COVID-19 cases reported today, 161 within the past seven days and 387 students in isolation or quarantine, Elon is instituting additional measures to stem this latest surge of the virus.

Most of the reports today are connected to previously reported clusters. This surge is primarily due to small social gatherings that may not necessarily violate state or local orders, but also do not involve masks and physical distancing.

After careful review and consultation with our team’s infectious disease expert at Cone Health, we are expanding social hiatus measures announced on Thursday.

Please read and follow these protocols, effective today until further notice:

  • All informal social interactions should be limited to FIVE individuals at most. This includes indoor and outdoor groups. Within those gatherings, everyone should wear a mask and maintain physical distance.
  • All sorority and fraternity in-person meetings, events, and activities are suspended.
  • All high-risk, high-contact club sports and intramural practices and games are suspended. Any low-risk, low-contact club sport that experiences a positive case within the group will suspend practices and games immediately.
  • Dining halls are only offering grab-and-go food service.
  • No visitors are allowed in residence halls; students may only enter the halls where they reside.
  • Non-essential travel to and from campus should be limited.

Increased testing this week

Elon has now arranged to test up to 3,000 students over the next week, with first priority to student groups and residential areas that are experiencing positive cases. We will announce details of this large-scale testing effort on Monday. If you receive notice that you are required to get a test, please comply with that directive, in keeping with the Healthy Elon Commitment.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or worry about your potential exposure to those with the virus, you will have an option to participate in this week’s testing. Watch your email for announcements about testing.

In-person classes will continue

There is no evidence that the virus is being transmitted in classroom settings. This structured environment is an asset to our community and our mental health. This new surge in cases does not suggest a change in our classroom instruction model, as long as students and faculty continue their safety protocols.

If you are assigned to quarantine or isolation, do not leave campus

Public health authorities require that students in quarantine or isolation not travel away from campus. Doing so only endangers others. We have received reports of students with positive test results, or exposure to a positive case, who are returning to their homes. This is a recipe for spreading the virus to your family. You, your loved ones and others you encounter are safer if you remain on campus for the remainder of the semester.

Off-campus test results

If you have a positive test result from an off-campus provider, you must notify the university immediately so we can take action to protect you and others. Upload a copy of your test results to your Phoenix Health online portal or send directly to the University’s medical director, Dr. Ginette Archinal, at garchinal@elon.edu.

While we are all disappointed in this surge of cases, it is within our power to lower the case count and reduce the number of people who contract the virus. Your partnership in this effort is essential.

We will provide additional updates early this coming week.

Jeff Stein, Ready & Resilient Committee Chair

  • Dan Anderson, Vice President of University Communications
  • Ginette Archinal, Medical Director of Student Health and University Physician
  • MarQuita Barker, Director of Residence Life
  • John Barnhill, Associate Vice President for University Advancement
  • Tom Flood, Assistant Vice President of Physical Plant
  • Jason Husser, Associate Professor of Political Science and Policy Studies, and Director of the Elon Poll (Academic Council Representative)
  • Deandra Little, Assistant Provost, Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and Professor of English
  • Paul Miller, Assistant Provost for Academic Operations and Communications and Professor of Exercise Science
  • Kelly Reimer, Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies (Staff Council Representative)
  • Carrie Ryan, Director of Auxiliary Services
  • Kelli Shuman, Associate Vice President for Human Resources & Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Gabie Smith, Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Psychology
  • Mary Southern, Project Manager for Provost and Academic Affairs Operations (Project Manager)
  • Mike Ward, Deputy Director of Athletics
  • Randy Williams, Vice President and Associate Provost for Inclusive Excellence and Assistant Professor of Education”

THE LATEST HEADLINES FROM FOX8

Must-See Stories

More Must-See Stories

MOST POPULAR

Follow FOX8 on Twitter