Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, has enacted a mandatory two-week quarantine for its entire student body following a COVID-19 outbreak, the school said Tuesday.
The private university has roughly 5,900 students.
Students are required to quarantine in their housing — be it off-campus or on — until Sept. 23, according to a news release. The school will transition to remote learning in the meantime.
Bradley University has confirmed about 50 cases of the coronavirus with more than 500 students in quarantine, university president Stephen Standifird said in the release.
Most cases have been linked to large and small gatherings of students who did not wear masks or practice social distancing, Standifird said.
“Although it may seem extreme, this move to temporary remote learning and a two-week, all-student quarantine allows us to focus on the continuity of the educational experience for all of our students while giving us time to gather data on the full extent of the spread of the virus and assess the best way to proceed as a community,” Standifird said.
The university president added that the goal is for the school to remain open for the entirety of the fall semester: “We would not engage in the two-week quarantine if I did not believe it was possible for us to complete the semester on campus successfully, but this only happens if we collectively change our behaviors moving forward.”
Under the quarantine mandate, students are asked to stay on-campus. Those who return home must continue to quarantine and return to school no earlier than Sept. 22, Standifird said.
Students are not allowed to gather with anyone other than their roommates, according to Standifird. All guests and other gatherings are prohibited along with visiting off-campus restaurants or residences.
During the quarantine, students are still allowed to pick up meals from university dining facilities, spend time outside with a mask on, run essential errands (such as going to the grocery store) and attend work, Standifird said.
The university will decide by Sept. 21 if in-person classes will resume. If there isn’t improvement during the two-week quarantine, the school may go remote for the rest of 2020, according to Standifird.
“In closing, do the right thing. Follow the guidelines. Be smart. Have patience,” Standifird said. “This is a step toward mitigating the spread of this virus and it is our greatest chance at having a successful semester on-campus.”