One Connecticut college is following through on its threat to take serious action if students continued to violate COVID safety rules, suspending 109 students on Monday.
Administrators at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield County had zero tolerance for breaking the rules on coronavirus safety. A school official said that a few were even asked not to return for the rest of the semester after a previous violation.
"Of those 109. two have been suspended from campus for the remainder of the semester because it was a second violation," said Sacred Heart's Dean of Students Larry Wielk.
Other suspensions varied from a week up to a month.
"Some of them range for seven days. That group, for example, had the face mask violation off campus. The others, primarily within our residence halls, had 14-day violations. And the rest, 30 days," Wielk said.
Students on the campus seemed to think the punishment was fair, considering everyone had been given plenty of notice.
"It's not like we weren't warned, it's not like we weren't told that that going to be the deal," said Christian Felipe.
"I think it's fair if they were breaking the rules," said fellow sophomore Tyler Cramer. "We're trying real hard to stay on campus and have in-person learning."
Students can only visit classmates who live in the same residence hall, while off-campus gatherings are limited to twelve people. Signs around campus remind everyone to wear masks, and last week Sacred Heart added "scent tents" — which ask students to literally stop and smell the roses. The reason behind the smell test is that loss of smell is an early symptom of COVID-19, so any student who can't smell the roses is told to report it right away.
The school also said it is ramping up testing, with Wielk saying that the school did more than 1,200 tests last week, with a positivity rate at less than half a percent. Next week, Sacred Heart said it is planning on doing 2,800 tests, which would be half the undergrad population.
It is not the only area school having difficulties with students regarding COVID-19 violations and outbreaks. The State University of New York at Cortland had to switch to remote learning for two weeks because of rising coronavirus cases.
SUNY Oneonta closed its campus Sept. 3 and shifted to online classes for the remainder of the fall semester. In mid-September, SUNY Oswego switched to online classes for two weeks, and was beginning the transition back to in-person classes this week.