Gatherings and parties during COVID
Let me start with an acknowledgment that this semester has been like none other and really hard. It’s complicated navigating learning that is often online; being socially distanced from your friends, your family, your classmates, your faculty; and just having a college experience that allows you to live and grow as an adult.
On behalf of the PLU community—staff, faculty, and your peers—I am writing to ask you to think carefully about what it means to gather together for parties. Let me be clear: public-health guidelines do not support gathering in groups that include more than five people from outside of your household. I’m not talking about you and five other students who gather informally after class or practice. I’m explicitly talking about a traditional college party. You know what I mean. And a traditional college party does not include proactive COVID-19 measures.
PLU has chosen to be very cautious about how we respond to COVID-19 concerns. Everyone here is required to complete the daily Wellness Check-In. Symptomatic students are quarantined as quickly as possible. COVID-19 testing is more common at PLU than at many other schools. AND—each of us needs to weigh the impact of our choices that can put our entire Lute community at risk—faculty, staff, peers, Parkland community members, and all of our families.
For this academic year, 2020–2021, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will be taking a hard-line response to students who host parties. If students are found to have hosted a party, disciplinary probation will be the minimum sanction, with a possibility of removal from in-person learning. This minimum sanction also includes the possibility of removal from participation in on-campus groups (ROTC, athletics, clubs/orgs, internships, clinical placements, etc.) and on-campus employment. Please note this is a minimum sanction.
If you are going to choose to attend or host a party:
- LIMIT THE GROUP SIZE TO SIX OR FEWER PEOPLE (including you).
- ACCEPT THE RISK TO YOURSELF AND OTHERS—of contracting COVID-19, of exposing close contacts of every guest to illness, and of facing serious consequences from the university.
- KNOW WHO ALL YOUR GUESTS ARE, ALONG WITH THEIR CONTACT INFORMATION (first name, last name, and phone number at a minimum), AND BE PREPARED TO SHARE THAT INFORMATION WITH THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT OR UNIVERSITY OFFICIALS IF IT IS NEEDED FOR CONTACT TRACING.
- BE HONEST WITH YOUR DAILY WELLNESS CHECK-IN, AND INFORM YOUR EMPLOYER, COACH, FACULTY, INTERNSHIP SITE, ETC. IF YOU HAVE ATTENDED A PARTY so you can appropriately quarantine or respond to symptoms, if they arise.
- IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS, CALL THE HEALTH CENTER FOR AN APPOINTMENT TO GET TESTED. If the PLU Health Center is closed, or if you want to test proactively after attending a large gathering, get tested at Walgreens or at a Pierce County testing event. Results are generally received quickly.
I invite you to join me and others in our community in making the choices that are necessary to support the whole Lute community’s health and well-being. Everyone wants our world to be different—and this is part of the journey. Thank you for being with us on it.
Dr. Eva Frey
Dean of Students