Citing testing data showing the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department is ordering nine University of Kansas fraternities and sororities to quarantine for 14 days.
Students living in the Pi Kappa Phi, Phi Gamma Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Chi Omega, Sigma Nu, Pi Beta Phi, and Beta Theta Pi chapter houses must quarantine and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms for at least 14 days, per the department’s health order.
Officials had previously announced quarantine orders for Kappa Alpha Theta and Phi Kappa Psi as well, but later removed them after it became clear that positive cases in the chapters lived outside of the buildings.
The order only applies to students living in the houses, and Greek Life members who live elsewhere do not need to quarantine if they have not tested positive or come in contact with someone who has.
The move comes after KU officials on Tuesday reported 133 out of 2,433 tests of students in the fraternity and sorority community came back positive for a rate of 5.47%. Those students made up more than half of the overall 222 positive cases out of 19,452 tests among the entire campus community.
KU required all students, faculty and staff to submit to mandatory COVID-19 saliva testing prior to the first day of classes Monday, although testing is ongoing.
Lawrence-Douglas Health Department officials are working with KU to make sure any cases reported at the university are also included in the county’s numbers. That will affect the department’s recommendation on whether K-12 schools should open for in-person, hybrid or remote classes, and officials said they will update that recommendation on Thursday.
At Kansas State University in Manhattan, Riley County Health Department officials last week declared an outbreak at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity after 13 students tested positive. Since mid-March, K-State has processed 183 positive COVID-19 tests out of 2,332 total.
K-State started classes Aug. 17, and during the first week of school, officials reported 63 positive tests out of 678 total for a positivity rate of 9.29%. However, K-State’s initial testing strategy has been to target people who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. University officials said they plan to begin conducting broader, but voluntary, surveillance testing in the coming weeks, starting with students in the residence halls.