As the second week of classes begins, at least two Greek life houses have placed students under quarantine due to positive COVID-19 tests.
At least two members of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and five members of Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority living in organization housing have tested positive for COVID-19 since Monday, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Pi Beta Phi, located on Indianola Avenue, placed its house under quarantine after two of its members tested positive for COVID-19 Aug. 25, Shawn Eagleburger, senior director of strategic initiatives for Pi Beta Phi’s national office, said in a Saturday press release.
“At this point, no members have been hospitalized. Those ill are reporting minor effects,” Eagleburger said.
Eagleburger did not give the specific number of members who tested positive, nor provided updates on members’ symptoms.
Alpha Epsilon Phi, located on East 17th Avenue, had its first residential member test positive for COVID-19 Friday. Since then, at least four members have tested positive and are isolating at a nearby hotel, according to a source in the organization.
Bonnie Wunsch, executive director of Alpha Epsilon Phi’s national office, did not confirm or deny that members who tested positive are isolating in a hotel. She also did not confirm how many members tested positive.
“Our local house corporation is handling all matters related to house operations and the COVID outbreak. They are keeping us well-informed as they execute the plans they have had in place in case of any incidents of COVID,” Wunsch said in an email.
Sorority members whose roommates tested positive are isolating in the house and the entire house — comprised of about 40 members — is under mandatory quarantine, the source said. Most members have chosen to get tested and are supposed to quarantine in their rooms until they receive their results.
Pi Beta Phi has found alternative housing for members who tested negative for COVID-19; members were also given the option to return to their permanent residences, Eagleburger said. Until “further notice,” he said Pi Beta Phi’s house is closed to visitors — including non-residential members.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Greek housing follows increased testing positivity rates for Ohio State students. According to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard, which was last updated Saturday, 495 out of 22,482 tested students tested positive for COVID-19, with a cumulative testing positivity rate of 2.15 percent. In the 24-hour period of Aug. 27, 91 students — 5.86 percent — of 1,463 students tested positive.
University spokesperson Dave Isaacs said in an email the university was not overseeing organization-specific policies for outbreaks in Greek life housing. Specific plans are made by each chapter’s national office, he said.
This story will be updated with more information.
Correction: A previous version of this story said members of Pi Beta Phi who tested negative for COVID-19 were advised to find alternative housing. The story has been changed to reflect that the chapter has found alternative housing for these members.