The school has hired a third-party contractor to disinfect the house and oversee contract tracing efforts

By Maria Pasquini
August 17, 2020 02:45 PM
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Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma State/Collegiate Images via Getty

Oklahoma State University has announced that 23 sorority members from one house have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Just days before the start of the fall semester on Monday, OSU shared that the entire house had been put under quarantine and members will not be allowed to leave the off-campus residence.

One additional sorority member who tested positive but does not live at the house will also remain in isolation.

“This was expected,” an OSU spokesperson told The Oklahoman in a statement. “When you bring back 20,000 students, there will invariably be more cases related to campus. We’ve prepared for this for five months and have protocols in place to manage the situation. Our priority is the safety and well-being of our campus community and transparency in communications.”

The school has hired a third-party contractor to disinfect the house, which will also be cleaned following the conclusion of the two-week quarantine period. OSU and the Payne County Health Department are also conducting contract tracing.

News of the positive cases at the sorority house were released following the conclusion of recruitment week at OSU, which was conducted virtually this year, the Oklahoman reported.

The new wave of cases doubled the amount of confirmed cases among OSU students.

Mandatory COVID-19 tests conducted before students moved into their residence halls turned up 22 confirmed cases, according to CBS News.

In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, the school is also requiring students and staff to wear masks “upon entering any public building on campus,” according to their website. Face coverings must also be worn outdoors should social distancing not be possible.

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Greek life has also been tied to a number of cases throughout the country.

At least 45 people living at the University of Southern California’s fraternity row tested positive for COVID-19 last month, which health officials have said might have been linked to a Fourth of July party, ABC News reported.

Earlier this month, at least 154 students at the University of Washington tested positive in an outbreak on Greek Row. Within the past week, the University of North Carolina has reported four separate “clusters” of COVID-19 cases, one of which was linked to a fraternity.

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