Yesterday the University announced that a cluster of students tested positive for COVID-19 in relation to off-campus social gatherings. Until this point, there were relatively few cases among undergraduates. The day after some students had their first day of in-person classes in nearly a year, they were forced back online.
We’re glad that the University swiftly and proactively decided to isolate students and suspend in-person activities for two days. We hope these measures prevent an outbreak.
Although the University is conducting additional contact tracing, it revealed that an early investigation linked many cases to an off-campus event. The News-Letter was able to verify that at least some of the cases are tied to a large party held by affiliates of the North Charles Social Club (WAWA, which has been an unofficial fraternity since its suspension in 2018). According to social media posts and text messages obtained by The News-Letter, WAWA hosted a 40-person event last weekend, going so far as to hire a DJ.
The choices of a few individuals required hundreds of students — every student athlete and resident of Charles Commons — to isolate. We know that many of us are committed to following public health guidelines consistently. But every single student must do their part. Get tested twice per week. Practice social distancing. Wear a mask, and avoid gatherings. Hanging out in a sweaty basement is not worth the risk.
We know how tempting it can be to be reunited with friends. However, we also all know — from the housing contract and the JHU Social Compact — what we agreed to by coming back to campus.
The University is clear that violating these rules will result in disciplinary action; 11 students were kicked out of University housing before the semester even began.
Know the message you’re sending if you’re hosting parties or otherwise endangering public safety. Our personal decisions don’t just affect us, but also our neighbors: Baltimore’s predominantly Black residents, who, due to structural racism, are at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications and death.
If you see a friend violating or ignoring University guidelines, call them out. To anonymously report noncompliance, call 844-SPEAK2US, fill out this online form or contact Campus Safety and Security for immediate support.
As a Hopkins student living in this city, we have an obligation to protect the people around us. We know the right thing to do, now let’s do it.