Bradley University in Illinois moved Tuesday to quarantine its entire student body and shift temporarily to remote learning as it seeks to gain a handle on coronavirus outbreaks that have appeared on campus.
An announcement from the university's president, Steve Standifird, directed "all students ... to quarantine in their residence hall, Greek house, St. James apartment, off-campus apartment or house for the next two weeks." The quarantine will lift at 7 a.m. on Sept. 23.
"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 in a video address to students.
"This two-week quarantine creates an opportunity for us to reset our behaviors so we can have a successful semester. I still think it’s possible for us to do so. 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," he continued.
His statement went on to specify that students would be allowed to spend time outside on-campus if wearing a mask, could venture to on-campus dining halls and restaurants to pick up food, and run essential errands both on and off-campus.
Students will not be permitted to visit off-campus restaurants or bars, have guests, or congregate with anyone other than their roommates. Failure to comply with the order could result in dismissal from campus or other disciplinary action, according to Standfird's address.
The unprecedented move by the Illinois school comes as universities across the country have struggled with persistent outbreaks of COVID-19 in student residence halls, Greek life housing, and other student residences both on- and off-campus due to the close proximity in which students live as well as the frequency of social gatherings.
The outbreaks have led to differing decisions among college administrators nationwide; some have allowed on-campus classes to continue while others such as University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have moved to suspend all in-person learning.