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Penn State Implores Greek Life To Follow Health Guidelines, Stop Partying

Penn State wrote a letter to the university’s Greek life community Friday encouraging it to respect public health guidelines as students return to campus this fall.

The letter, penned by Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, warned fraternities and sororities that “anything less than true commitment to the public health demands” laid out by Penn State will be a “disservice to our friends, our families, our community, and our University.”

“We must insist on nothing less from both ourselves and those with whom we are joined in this cause, if we are to be together on our campus and in our community,” Sims wrote. “The responsibility is shared among us, and we each must do our part.”

To help promote public health and safety, Sims provided a list of requirements and “expectations” upon students’ return to campus this fall, which are organized below. According to Penn State, violations of bolded action items may be met with disciplinary action.

  • No socials of any kind until circumstances warrant a relaxation of this mandate
  • No gatherings that exceed state or local government directives and compliance with all other relevant government mandates  
  • Wear face coverings on campus, in campus buildings, and wherever the law requires, and consider wearing masks as often as you can elsewhere in the community, even in your residence 
  • Comply with physical distancing requirements on campus, in the community, and in your fraternity or sorority activities, and generally avoid crowded locations 
  • Fully cooperate with University and other officials responsible for the management of Covid-19 testing, including pre-arrival testing where applicable, contact tracing, and quarantine or isolation 
  • Rigorously clean and disinfect your personal space and belongings consistent with public health guidelines, and practice good hand hygiene 
  • Limit visitors, particularly out of town visitors, who may pose unusual risks, as you do what you can to minimize the presence and spread of the virus 
  • Stay home whenever you feel ill; seek help from the University Health Services 
  • Self-quarantine for at least seven days prior to your return 
  • Encourage your peers to join with you in doing the right thing at all times; we have to be in this effort together 

To enforce these guidelines, Sims said Penn State will continue monitoring fraternity and sorority activities to “encourage the compliance required.”

“The good news is that we’ve all been at this task for months now,” Sims wrote. “There’s nothing completely new in what lies ahead. The challenge, of course, is finding a way together to get the most out of our return to campus and community without jeopardizing our ability to sustain that opportunity.”

Earlier this summer, Penn State’s Interfraternity Council voted to indefinitely suspend all organized social activities due to the coronavirus pandemic. It emphasized no “major actions” will be taken to reintroduce socials until it, as well as Penn State, can find a safe way to do so.

“The parties you’re accustomed to simply can’t happen,” Sims wrote.

He added Penn State will be a “strong partner” in guiding chapters to a “good outcome” this fall. Sims said the university will work with local authorities and community leaders to make student’s return to campus work this fall.

“I hope you’ll do your part,” Sims wrote.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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