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Newsletter > January 2021 > "CDC Links COVID-19 Cases to Fraternities and Sororities"
CDC Links COVID-19 Cases to Fraternities and Sororities
Ilana Linder, Fraternal Law Partners, Ilana.email@example.com
As colleges and universities across the country begin to welcome back students and resume classes for the spring semester, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued two reports related to the spread of COVID-19 within and by fraternities and sororities on campus.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the CDC reported that the overall incidence rate of the COVID-19 virus significantly increased (56%) on college campuses that offered in-person instruction in the Fall 2020 semester, whereas the incidence rate was much lower in counties in which the local colleges and universities opted to provide the majority (if not all) of their courses via remote learning.
But the CDC also found that, for at least one Arkansas university, “transmission was likely facilitated by on- and off-campus congregate living settings and activities, with a majority of the gatherings (91%) and links between them (72%) associated with fraternities or sororities.”Moreover, the CDC found that “among linked gatherings, women accounted for 86% of cases,” which may reflect gender-specific activities, including sorority rush week, which “held an in-person outdoor bid day event and occurred before fraternity rush week, which was both held later and virtually.”
Given these findings, the CDC continues to urge the implementation of various mitigation measures, such as limiting the size of social gatherings, adhering to social distancing recommendations, requiring the use of masks, encouraging personal hygiene practices, and increasing testing efforts. Additionally, if schools have not already done so, moving fraternity and sorority rush events, along with other general organizational events (such as member meetings) to a virtual platform is strongly recommended.
Andrew J. Leidner et al., Opening of Large Institutions of Higher Education and County-Level COVID-19 Incidence — United States, July 6–September 17, 2020, 70 Mobility & Mortality Weekly Rep.14 (2021).
Kristyn E. Vang et al., Participation in Fraternity and Sorority Activities and the Spread of COVID-19 Among Residential University Communities — Arkansas, August 21–September 5, 2020, 70 Mobility & Mortality Weekly Rep.20 (2021).