Confirmed COVID-19 Cases at Oklahoma Beta
A number of collegiate members of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women’s Oklahoma Beta Chapter at Oklahoma State University have tested positive for COVID-19; all others in the chapter are being closely monitored for symptoms.
Following health official, university and Fraternity guidelines, members living in the facility are under quarantine. The facility is closed to guests, including members living outside of the facility, until further notice.
Mirroring university requirements for students living in the residence halls, the local Pi Beta Phi chapter mandated all members moving into the facility must be tested for COVID-19. Members moved into the facility between Sunday, August 2, and Thursday, August 6; all presented negative COVID-19 test results.
In a last-minute university-wide change, sorority recruitment was redesigned to a completely virtual experience on August 5. With this change, the chapter encouraged members not already back on campus to not return until closer to the start of classes. In addition, all members were informed the chapter facility would be closed to guests, and members living in the facility would be asked to limit coming and going. Eager to reconnect with friends, on August 11, a small group of members who reside outside of the facility joined the chapter for a short, informal gathering at the facility. On August 12, the Chapter President was informed one of these members was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19; the member later confirmed she had tested positive. On August 14, members who since began experiencing symptoms were tested; many tested positive.
The Fraternity and chapter are working closely with university officials to manage the situation. University Health Services and the Payne County Health Department are leading contact tracing efforts. Chapter facility operations have been elevated to that of isolation-level precautions. Members choosing to leave to return to their family home may do so, however will not be permitted back into the facility at this time. Members expecting to move into the facility prior to the start of classes on Monday, August 17, have been encouraged to refrain; the Fraternity is working with the university to identify alternative options for these students
At this point, no members have been hospitalized and any who are ill are experiencing minor effects of the virus.
Across North America, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity is emulating university response to COVID-19 on campuses where the Fraternity has chapters as related to opening and operating chapter facilities. Not all Pi Beta Phi chapter facilities will open for the Fall 2020 term. The Fraternity has issued a guide, informed by Center for Disease Control and other health official recommendations, for Pi Beta Phi facilities which will be open. All members have been encouraged to consider the potential risks of communal living and are expected to take full precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois, Pi Beta Phi has installed 204 collegiate chapters and nearly 300 alumnae organizations worldwide. Pi Beta Phi promotes friendship, develops women of intellect and integrity, cultivates leadership potential and enriches the lives of members and their communities. The Fraternity believes in the power of reading and through its philanthropy, Read > Lead > Achieve®, promotes a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential. For more information, visit pibetaphi.org.
Published: August 16, 2020
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Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives