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UNF cracks down on organizations violating COVID-19 protocols

One fraternity has received disciplinary probation through Fall 2021 and is restricted from social events.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The University of North Florida has conducted at least two dozen investigations into organizations accused of breaking the school’s COVID-19 policies.

Organizations involved include sports teams, clubs and Greek life.

Documents from the university show most organizations are accused of gathering without masks and not practicing social distancing.

Seventeen of the 24 incidents recorded involve Greek life, often connected with social events.

The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority are accused of attending an off-campus pool party where social distancing and mask guidelines were not being followed on Aug 23.

The document states no sanctions will be held against the sororities as they are not responsible for the event. The sanction for the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is awaiting decision, the documents said.

Sanctions for violating the school’s COVID-19 protocols range from warning letters to suspensions. 

In August, the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity was tabling on The Green without following social distancing and mask guidelines, the document said.

The Fraternity’s second incident in September states it provided alcohol to minors through common source containers at an unsanctioned event. Social distancing and mask guidelines were not followed, the document said. For this incident, Kappa Alpha Psi received disciplinary probation through Fall 2021 and is restricted from social events.

The Women’s Swim Team is accused of holding an unsanctioned social event where alcohol was available to minors and no masks were being worn. UNF required a team meeting with PERCH.

Alpha Chi Omega Sorority is accused of failing to report positive COVID-19 tests. Sanctions have not been determined.

“Being a college student on a college campus is a very high-risk environment to get COVID-19 in,” said Dr. Chad Nielson, Director of Infection Prevention at UF Health Jacksonville.

Nielsen said universities can put endless social distancing protocols in place, but it’s ultimately up to the students to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“College towns are expected to see a spike in cases and that’s exactly what we’re seeing.” Nielsen said.

Nielsen said the biggest risk isn’t necessarily a student contracting the virus, but spreading it.

“What the biggest risk is going to be is students taking it home to their parents, grandparents over the holidays,” Nielson said.

Bob Greenlaw, UNF’s COVID-19 taskforce coordinator, provided the following response:

"The University takes very seriously the protocols put in place to keep the Osprey community safe and healthy during the pandemic. The importance of the four key pillars of shared responsibility found at www.unf.edu/coronavirus has been repeatedly communicated to the campus community through all communication channels. Creating a safe and healthy environment is a shared responsibility that includes taking steps to protect the health of each individual as well as the health and well-being of the entire Osprey community. Based on CDC guidelines, the campus community is required to follow the four key pillars of shared responsibility which include: practicing social distancing, wearing a mask in all indoor and outdoor areas at all times, practicing proper personal hygiene, and monitoring health on a daily basis... While the University has been fortunate in its relatively low number of positive cases compared to other schools across the country, the recent increase in cases is a direct result of students not following the University’s safety guidelines. Our Student Code of Conduct and the disruptive behavior regulations at UNF apply to behaviors on and off campus and the University will continue to take swift action against any individual(s) who are intentionally putting the campus community at risk."