Butler University moves first two weeks of fall 2020 semester online

Butler University students line up outside Hinkle Fieldhouse to get tested for COVID-19, as required by the university. The university saw a positive case increase from 0.5% to 2% from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23. Photo by Julian Cirnigliaro.

MEGHAN STRATTON | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF | mrstratt@butler.edu

On Aug. 23 at 11:06 a.m., Butler University announced in a campus-wide email that the first two weeks of the fall semester will be conducted remotely. The campus will remain residential as originally planned, but students will not have access to any campus spaces aside from residence halls, dining halls and outdoor spaces. All in-person student organization and university athletic meetings have been suspended immediately. 

The primary rationale behind shifting to online academics stems from a small percentage of students refusing to comply with health and safety guidelines. 50 students have been charged with violations of the Student Commitment for Personal and Community Well-being. 

Such violations include refusal to comply with contact tracing, as well as attending on-campus and off-campus parties. The university said these students will be punished based on the severity of their violations, including the possibility of being removed from campus. There is also a new COVID-19 concern reporting process for community members to identify students who violate the student commitment. 

These violations have subsequently produced an uptick in the number of COVID-19 cases on campus; the email cited a case increase from 0.5% to 2% of the student population from Aug. 19 to Aug. 23. The university linked the increasing number of students showing COVID-19 symptoms to the non-compliant conduct.

Furthermore, the spread of COVID-19 has progressed rapidly, and the university is subsequently taking steps to track the health and safety of close contacts. The university said about 75 students who are close contacts of students with COVID-19 have been placed in quarantine.

The email stated that the next two weeks will determine if a residential, in-person semester is possible. The university administration will be hosting a virtual webinar with university administration on Aug. 23 at 6:00 p.m.

The Butler Collegian will continue to update this story as more information becomes available. 

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