University of Delaware stiffens penalties for partying after Covid-19 cases increase


The University of Delaware has announced more serious penalties for students who violate UD’s code of conduct or the City of Newark’s limitations on the size of gatherings.

While the large majority of students are adhering to the public-health guidelines, some have not, according to José-Luis Riera, vice president for student life, and Adam Cantley, dean of students, in an email to all students Thursday, Sept. 17.

The Delaware Division of Public Health has reported a sharp increase in the rate of positive cases since students arrived on campus at UD and Delaware State University. UD is primarily holding online classes.

Coronavirus outbreaks have been reported throughout the nation, with some institutions canceling in-person classes and sending students home.

“We want to sincerely thank everyone who has been making responsible choices, even when it’s difficult,” Riera and Cantley wrote in the letter to students. “Despite the positive behavior of most students, however, the actions of a few may be jeopardizing the health and safety of our entire community. Some students have continued gathering in large groups, not wearing face coverings and not keeping a safe physical distance from others.”

So far, 30 students have been charged with violations of UD’s code of conduct, and the off-campus addresses where troubling behavior has occurred have been shared with UD Police and Newark Police.

Also, 34 students had tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours, in part due to increased testing of students without symptoms. The program did show a low rate of positive tests, although more frequent testing of student-athletes has shown higher rates.

Riera and Cantley said more serious consequences begin immediately:

  • UD will strictly enforce the city ordinance limiting gathering size (no more than 12 people indoors and no more than 20 outdoors), and consequences for anyone hosting an unlawful gathering will start with a minimum of suspension and may lead to expulsion.
  • Additionally, those alleged to be hosting an unlawful gathering will be placed on emergency suspension, resulting in being banned from campus until the issue is resolved.
  • Those who attend unlawful gatherings will also be sanctioned and can expect deferred suspension, suspension or expulsion, as circumstances dictate.

“We are making these changes for one simple reason: It is absolutely essential that we do everything possible to slow the spread of Covid-19 at UD and throughout our extended community,” they said.

The administrtors reminded students that they can now schedule a COVID-diagnostic test on campus, even if they are not experiencing symptoms. The University is working closely with the City of Newark and Delaware public health authorities to ensure that everyone who wants a test can get one quickly, they said.

Riera and Cantley advised students of UD’s Covid-19 Amnesty protocol, which states that students will not be punished if they test positive for COVID-19 or report a positive test to Student Health Services.

“We know that we speak for your professors and everyone here at UD, as well as your family members, in saying that we are so proud of our Blue Hens who demonstrate responsibility and maturity,” the administrators stated. “We are 100% confident that we can successfully navigate this difficult situation together.”

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