MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – Just one day after Kansas State University resumed in-person classes for the fall 2020 semester, the Riley County Health Department confirmed 13 members of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at K-State tested positive for coronavirus.
“We are fully cooperating with RCHD and IFC at K-State,” said Phi Delta Theta Chapter President Zach Hoeven. “Anytime members show symptoms or have been exposed we make sure they seek out testing and follow quarantine procedures from the CDC.”
The chapter already had mask guidelines in place, temperature checks and installed hand sanitizing stations.
The university separated itself from all Greek life in 2017 and has little control over what the organization does. K-State is the only university in the Big 12 to make this move and one of few across the country.
However, a university spokesperson gave the following statement to KSNT News:
This reinforces the need for our recommended protocols of physical distancing and wearing face coverings. We will work closely with local health officials on this situation.Kansas State University
The Greek organizations are now independently governed by the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the Panhellenic Council (PHC) at K-State.
“Phi Delt has been fully cooperative with us, their president let me know right away about the situation when they had their first positive case and he continually updated me when new members testing positive for it, but they have been fully cooperative” IFC President Samuel Keener said.
RCHD has not released where the students may have caught the virus.
“Prior to our members return we implemented strict in house mask covering face requirements hand sanitizing stations and temperature checks at the door” Hoeven said.
Phi Delta Theta is most likely the first of many group living situations at K-State and across the country to have to deal with the inevitable coronavirus outbreak as they fall victim to the decision to re-open campuses across the country.
“Fraternity members and managers have been instructed to follow procedures for outbreaks in group living quarters,” the health department said in a news release. “These procedures include deep cleaning and disinfection as well as quarantine for anyone who had been in close contact with positive patients. Close contact is defined as more than 10 minutes of time spent less than 6 feet apart.”
RCHD also has not released if the students tested are symptomatic or asymptomatic. The county rolled back some restrictions on mass gatherings this past week. According to their website, the county has 125 active cases as of Tuesday.
K-State has not made a public statement on whether it will be making adjustments to the fall semester plan. K-State Athletics announced Monday fans will be allowed inside the stadium for football games at a reduced capacity and students would receive their tickets if they had ordered them before the deadline.