PEORIA, Ill. — Bradley University is imposing a mandatory two-week quarantine on all students and switching to remote learning only due to an outbreak of coronavirus on campus, university officials announced Tuesday.
According to a statement, a total of 50 cases of COVID-19 have recently been confirmed on campus and 500 students are quarantining after contact tracing revealed they were possibly exposed to an infected individual.
Starting Tuesday night and lasting until the morning of September 23, all students at Bradley University will be required to quarantine in their residence hall, Greek house or off-campus housing.
Sophomore Melody Hampton is one of the students who has already been in quarantine for about a week after someone on her floor tested positive for COVID-19.
“We didn’t know there were close to 50 until they sent the email out. That was a wake up call,” Hampton said.
“Although it may seem extreme, this move to temporary remote learning and a two-week, all-student quarantine allows us to focus on the continuity of the educational experience for all of our students while giving us time to gather data on the full extent of the spread of the virus and assess the best way to proceed as a community,” Bradley University President Stephen Standifird said in the statement.
Students will only be permitted to leave their housing to pick up meals, spend time outside while masked, run essential errands, go to work or attend some off-campus learning events. Gatherings of any type are not allowed, and any students who violate the quarantine could face discipline up to dismissal.
In the statement, Standifird said the university’s quarantine may seem “extreme,” but is aimed at limiting coronavirus cases so in-person instruction can continue throughout the semester. According to its website, nearly 6,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at the private university.
With more than 50 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, some students now are starting to see just how serious this is.
“Now after experiencing it and now I have coronavirus, so I feel like I definitely want to follow the rules after this. Just to keep other people safe,” student Macy Campin said.
The university saw an outbreak of coronavirus at the end of July when a dozen students tested positive. Authorities said that outbreak was traced back to freshmen orientation and a small off-campus social gathering where attendees didn’t wear masks or practice social distancing.
In the statement, Standifird said “many” of the latest cases can also be traced back to gatherings where masks and social distancing are not observed.
Illinois health officials also said at the end of July that coronavirus cases in Peoria County rose above one of the state’s warning levels following an increase in cases among young people who contracted COVID-19 after attending parties over the Fourth of July weekend and traveling to nearby states. As of August 29, Peoria County remains above the state’s warning level for the number of cases per 100K residents.