University response to large student gatherings

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In the wake of large gatherings of students at some off-campus apartment complexes in State College during the Penn State-Indiana University football game on Saturday, Penn State and the Borough of State College announced today (Oct. 26) joint planning, enforcement and outreach measures designed to help prevent similar gatherings during Saturday evening’s home game against Ohio State and future games. Such large gatherings of mostly unmasked individuals not practicing social distancing risk spreading COVID-19, and are in violation of the State College Borough ordinance, which limits social gatherings to no more than 10 people. 

The additional measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Outreach with local landlords to facilitate measures that can be taken to lock down gathering areas, maintain an on-site building management presence and help report ordinance violations to police 
  • As noted, there is an investigation by the State College Police Department of available video footage from Saturday’s events, with support from Penn State police; those identified who violated the borough ordinance will be fined and referrals will be made to Penn State’s Office of Student Conduct for follow-up investigations
  • Directing all asymptomatic students who live in those buildings where the events occurred — and students who participated but do not live in the buildings — to be tested. While many students in those buildings did not attend the gatherings, they may have been exposed to others who did attend, and therefore should be tested. Hours for walk-up testing at Pegula Ice Arena are being extended. Students who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not visit the walk-up testing site and instead seek testing at University Health Services by scheduling an appointment.
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“The reckless and irresponsible gatherings that occurred this weekend fly in the face of our efforts as a community to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” said Penn State President Eric J. Barron. “We will be working closely with the borough this weekend and throughout the rest of the football season to stop negligent behavior.  I’m proud of the efforts of the majority of our students, and I am determined to hold accountable those who would jeopardize not just their own safety, but the safety of other students and of our broader community.”  

In addition, as communicated previously, there will be no tailgating around Beaver Stadium or anywhere on campus. As the first home football game draws near, the University has communicated the need for shared responsibility to the community — asking Penn State students, parents, fans, friends and alumni to do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19. The message encourages those groups to avoid large gatherings, remain physically distant, not travel to campus or other locations, and cheer on the Nittany Lions in a socially distant fashion to focus on the health and safety of the entire community.

As a positive alternative, Penn State is organizing a socially distanced football viewing event for first-year students, which will take place on Oct. 31 — providing designated areas for students to gather while still following the critical protocols in place to protect the health and safety of the community. 

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Last Updated October 26, 2020


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