9 CPP students test positive for COVID-19 after attending sorority party

Nine COVID-19 cases have been traced back to students who attended a sorority party held on Aug. 28, according to university health officials. More than 30 people, including students from other
universities, were present at the gathering.

The nine Cal Poly Pomona students, however, were not on campus during the infectious period and did
not pose danger to the campus community, according to Leticia Gutierrez-Lopez, associate vice president for Student Health and Wellbeing.

“There was no risk of exposure at all, but they are affiliated with the campus,” Gutierrez-Lopez
said. “So, we needed to notify the campus community. It was required.”

Gutierrez-Lopez began investigating the event once the university was notified of the confirmed
cases. Following protocols from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the investigation included tracing individuals who may have been exposed to the COVID-19 virus to
mitigate the spread.

Members of Zeta Tau Alpha, one of the five sororities under the National Panhellenic Conference, are believed to have hosted the party, according to a CPP student who has knowledge of the gathering but wished to remain anonymous.

Ronnisha Osuala, coordinator of Fraternity and Sorority Life, and Megan Vo, president of Zeta Tau
Alpha, did not respond to inquiries made by The Poly Post.

The organization has also been facing repercussions at other universities — including University of
Tennessee and University of Central Florida — for failing to follow social distancing regulations, resulting to a cluster of cases.

The University of New Hampshire also recently reported a similar party hosted by a fraternity that
resulted in 11 COVID-19 cases — which led to a suspension for the duration of the investigation and
self-isolation of party attendees for 14 days. Cal Poly Pomona, however, has not announced any
disciplinary actions for the Greek organization.

In related news, the university launched a COVID-19 reporting webpage two weeks ago, allowing the
public to view the number of on-campus cases along with those happening off-site.

“It was our effort at being transparent and sharing information that is already currently available, but it’s now more accessible for folks to find the information,” said Frances Teves, the assistant vice president at the Office of Government and External Affairs and lead of the Safer Return Task Force.

The university also received frequent external requests from the press and parents to share the
specific number of cases on campus, Teves added.

According to Gutierrez-Lopez, individuals testing positive for COVID-19 who are on campus during the contagious period will be counted as an on-campus case — including those dropping by to pick up supplies. Individuals who are not on campus but are associated with the university will be classified as an off-campus case.

As of Sept. 13, 10 employees working on campus tested positive for COVID-19, according to the data
from the reporting webpage. Although Gutierrez-Lopez could not comment on the specific nature of the employee cases, she confirmed that they were from multiple departments.

The university does not plan to notify everyone working or living on campus when it receives a
report of a new on-campus case. It will only notify those who may potentially have had close – contact exposure — meaning the individuals were within six feet from the person affected for 15 minutes or longer.

Nonetheless, if Gutierrez-Lopez and the team of investigators decide that the exposure is extensive, they may notify the entire department that the individual visited.

In efforts to prevent outbreaks on campus, school health officials are requiring all students, faculty and staff to follow the safety protocols established in partnership with the county health department, which includes an online training module and a health screener. Students living on campus, however, must complete the health screeners daily.

Sarah Han | The Poly Post

To stop the spread of the virus, the Student Health and Wellness Services advises the campus
community to follow these steps:

• Always wear a face mask when interacting with members outside the household in public and private spaces.
• Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet, or two arms’ length, away from all individuals outside the household.
• Wash your hands frequently and effectively by scrubbing for at least 20 seconds.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. If you don’t have a tissue, cover with your upper sleeve or elbows.
• Stay isolated when you or a member of your household see symptoms that are associated with COVID-19.

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