13 members of Kansas State fraternity test positive one day after start of classes
© Matthew Blomberg (KSU Communicators)

At least 13 members of a fraternity at Kansas State University have tested positive for COVID-19 just one day after in-person classes began for the semester.

The Riley County Health Department announced on Tuesday that the Phi Delta Theta fraternity has been identified as the source of an outbreak in Manhattan, Kan.

Local health officials called for the fraternity’s living quarters to be deep cleaned and disinfected, and anyone who had been in close contact with positive patients should quarantine.


Phi Delta Theta wrote that prior to students returning to the fraternity's house, members implemented in-house mask covering requirements, hand sanitizing stations and temperature checks at the doors.

“Anytime members show symptoms or have been exposed, we make sure that they seek out testing and are following quarantine procedures,” the fraternity wrote.

In-person classes for the fall semester began on Monday for Kansas State's more than 22,000 students.  

Students, faculty, staff and visitors are required to wear face coverings while on campus in hallways, public spaces and classrooms. Everyone is encouraged to maintain social distancing, and gatherings are limited to 50 or fewer people, according to the university's reopening guidelines.

The health department also identified a second outbreak at an area school district that has not yet resumed classes.

At least seven people connected to the Blue Valley USD 384 School District Office in Randolph have tested positive for COVID-19, including staff members and school board members.

Several buildings in the school district have been closed for disinfection.

“Because we can isolate locations where staff have been, we can deep clean those areas,” said Blue Valley Superintendent John Cox. “We will continue to have athletic practices as long as it is safe to do so. Coaches are asked to continue with the safety protocols and procedures they have been using.”

There has been at least 35,890 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 411 related deaths in Kansas as of Wednesday, according to the Kansas State Health Department.

Governors and state education departments across the country are grappling with whether to hold in-person classes this fall as coronavirus cases spike. 

The decisionmaking process quickly became politicized after President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE and Education Secretary Betsy DeVosBetsy DeVosPardon talk intensifies as Trump approaches final 24 hours in office Azar in exit letter to Trump says Capitol riot could 'tarnish' legacy READ: Departure letter from HHS Secretary Azar to Trump MORE demanded schools reopen for in-person learning or risk losing government funding.