As Lyon County continues to see a rise in COVID-19 cases, Alpha Sigma Alpha, an Emporia State sorority at 226 West 12 avenue, recently underwent two weeks of quarantine as six members tested positive for the virus following Halloween weekend.
“We spent a ton of money and time preparing (the house) for the women to come back,” said Julie Quickel, financial advisor, and president of housing corporations for ASA. “We have implemented new polices in regard to bedrooms and how they are to be configured and set up.”
With about 16 rooms in the house, many of the 25 sorority members share roommates, making isolation on-site difficult or impossible.
“Our members were in quarantine over Halloween so I can’t speak to (sorority members breaking quarantine to engage in large gatherings and parties),” Quickel said. “As far as enforcement goes, we are relying on our members to self-quarantine and to follow the policies in place…if they want to go home for Thanksgiving and fully interact with their family and friends then they are going to have to follow the mandates.”
As in-person classes are scheduled to end November 20, it is up to each Greek house to determine their own procedures related to in-house living.
“Because there are no classes on campus after November twentieth , our house will close Tuesday, November twenty-fourth and the girls can begin moving back on January twenty-third,” Quickel said. “(Our) housing decisions are made by the housing organization which consist of seven alumni that serve the chapter in a volunteer role.”
While Quickel said the house had done everything it could to mitigate potential outbreaks she said she was not surprised that it ended up impacting their members.
“It is not surprising that it ended up impacting our members, but I am glad that we made it that far into the semester without incident,” Quickel said. “Since that time we have had more positive cases, so our members have been in quarantine, but we are optimistic that the quick action to go into quarantine did reduce the severity of the outbreak.”
After testing negative, sorority members that had previously moved elsewhere to quarantine were allowed to move back in.
In an email from Katherine Brady, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life at Emporia State, Brady stated that policies regarding COVID-19 differ greatly from house to house.
“I think most of the chapters are trying their best to complete the semester as most students are doing,” Brady said. “The governing councils had their final meetings this week and have successfully conducted transition meetings for (the) Panhellenic Association, Multicultural Greek Council, and Interfraternity Council. Overall, we are happy with how chapters have responded and worked in partnership with my office and ESU when it came to managing COVID-19.”