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“None of us started COVID-19!” Olivet VP tells students as new restrictions follow campus outbreak

“Additional non-compliance will result in further disciplinary action, up to and including suspension.”

BOURBONNAIS – Olivet Nazarene University has issued new COVID-19 restrictions in wake of the first COVID-19 outbreak among students on Campus. The information was discovered in a letter to the Olivet community obtained over the weekend by Country Herald.

On Friday, Olivet reported 40 active COVID-19 cases among the student population.

“I want to pause here a moment to clarify that this was NOT the fault of any group, program, or individual. None of us started COVID-19! This is just how viral infections work,” said Vice President David Pickering to students in internal communication Saturday.

Pickering says ‘several unconnected cases on campus’ lead to numbers increasing. There is no word on how many students are currently quarantined due to close contacts on campus. The University is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and Kankakee County Health Department to ‘reduce our positive cases’ Pickering reported Saturday.

In light of the outbreak, the campus has issued new mitigation restrictions for the next week to campus activities:

  • All events with over 25 people are postponed or pivoted to virtual as of Monday.
  • Students are asked to take meals back to campus dorms rather than linger in dining areas.  
  • No guests or visitors are permitted at any time in dorms or apartments.
  • Open House opportunities have been suspended
  • All lobbies, lounges, common areas, and public spaces in housing facilities are closed, including study rooms throughout the campus.

“Your complete cooperation with these adjustments is essential. It is not only requested, it is expected, and non-compliance with these adjustments and all current ONU COVID-19 protocols will result in a minimum $50.00 fine from the University.” Pickering said in the statement Saturday. “Additional non-compliance will result in further disciplinary action, up to and including suspension.”

As of Monday afternoon, the University reported 38 active cases, down from two Friday. Just over two weeks ago, on September 20th, the University reported zero cases on campus.  It was the first report of zero active cases on campus at the time since returning back in August.

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