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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

University of Chicago institutes stay-at-home period, remote classes for undergraduates after cluster of COVID cases reported

CHICAGO (WLS) — University of Chicago officials announced new restrictions Wednesday night after a large cluster of COVID-19 cases were reported among undergraduates.

In the message sent to students and the university community, school officials said over 50 COVID-19 cases were detected since the beginning of this week, with a substantial number of cases among students living on-campus, distributed across multiple residence halls.

“We expect this number to increase,” the message said.

“I was supposed to go to practice later today, but it got canceled. I had no idea this was coming,” said Maguire Pesci, University of Chicago student.

Those who have tested positive are in isolation, following university protocols, but many of the cases might have been linked to one or more off-campus fraternity parties held over the last week, school officials said.

The school is currently working on contact tracing. According to the university, the cases likely came from off-campus social gatherings.

“I’m proud I didn’t participate. Just the fact that it did happen was a bit disappointing, said Luke Kalaydjian, University of Chicago student.

“Definitely not totally surprising. It’s college students, a lot of college students who are not having a normal college experience, trying to get some semblance of that, but you know actions have consequences,” said Saira Munshani, University of Chicago student.

Due to majority of the more than 65

School officials said this is the biggest cluster of cases to reach the university since the start of the academic year.

RELATED: Cook County COVID surge may lead to tightened restrictions, health officials warn

As a result, students living in residence halls must observe a new stay-at-home period of seven days, beginning immediately and lasting through April 15. The order could be extended, officials said. Students can briefly leave their residence halls to get food, attend medical appointments, or go for a short walk for exercise.

Undergraduate classes will also be fully remote for at least seven days, starting Thursday. In-person graduate classes may continue, the university said. The order also requires students to only leave their dorms for a brief walk, a medical appointment or to get food.

The university asked anyone who has recently attended a party or unmasked gathering to be tested immediately.

“We are hopeful that taking swift, comprehensive steps now should address this outbreak and allow us to conclude the academic year safely. We may need to consider additional steps if there is further spread of COVID-19, including placing further restrictions on in-person activities for Spring Quarter or scaling back planned College Convocation events,” school officials said.

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Source: ABC 7

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