Officials linked at least 11 COVID-19 cases to a University of New Hampshire frat party attended by more than 100 people

  • Officials have identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases that are linked to a University of New Hampshire fraternity party. 
  • More than 100 people attended the Theta Chi party last weekend and few wore masks, university officials said.
  • At least 11 people explosed to the party, or those who have attended, have tested positive for the virus. 
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The University of New Hampshire and public health officials have identified a cluster of COVID-19 cases that are believed to be linked to a Theta Chi fraternity party on August 29, the university said in a statement. 

More than 100 people attended the party without masks, according to UNH.

"The August 29 party is reprehensible and will not be tolerated. As soon as we heard of this party at Theta Chi, we started an investigation with the Interfraternity Council,"  university President James W. Dean Jr. said in the statement. "We will be pursuing student conduct charges against the organizers and all students who attended the event." 

So far, at least 11 cases of the coronavirus have been linked to the event, which was attended by students as well as people who don't attend classes at the college. 

The UNH chapter of Theta Chi was immediately suspended, Dean said, adding that other groups who have parties will face the same penalty. 

As colleges reopen to in-person classes, it has been a challenge to limit gatherings among students. Many people have criticized colleges for attempting to "shift blame" onto their students, while not taking adequate procedures to keep those students safe.

Greek life has already been hit particularly hard by the virus, as some members continue to host packed parties without social distancing measures in place. 

In early July, the University of Washington announced that at least 145 of its students tested positive for the coronavirus in what became known as the "Greek row outbreak."

A week later, The University of California, Berkeley announced it saw an uptick from 23 to 47 new cases associated with "a series of recent parties connected to the CalGreek system."

Schools are limited in what they can enforce at Greek life houses, because at some colleges the buildings are located off campus on private property, Insider's Inyoung Choi previously reported.

Many students opted to remain in Greek housing even as in-person classes and gatherings had been banned. 

"Let me be clear: this is reckless behavior and the kind of behavior that undermines our planning and will lead to us switching to a fully remote mode," the UNH president said of hosting gatherings that violate CDC guidelines. 

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