Auburn University announced Tuesday night it is limiting all in-person gatherings to no more than 50 people, while the senior vice president of student affairs cautioned that the semester on campus is in danger amid the spread of COVID-19.
“Simply put, if a segment of our community continues to disregard physical distancing, wearing face coverings and avoiding large gatherings, we will likely be unable to complete the semester on campus,” Bobby Woodard warned in an email blast to those on campus.
“To help us on the path to success, the university is limiting all in-person gatherings to no more than 50 people, effective Aug. 24 through Oct. 10,” his announcement continued. “Previously approved events or gatherings must also be limited to 50 people.”
Woodard’s missive came on heels of another weekend of students packing bars in downtown Auburn and a spike in reported COVID-19 cases on campus. The university has also opened two quarantine dorms on the Hill to isolate students who test positive for the virus, and they were at about 40 percent capacity Monday.
Auburn city officials have been in contact with the university to express their worries about the ongoing student behavior, which extends to heavily attended house parties off campus as well. City police have cited downtown bars for flouting mask and social distancing restrictions. In addition, city officials are looking at options to address the situation before a new wave of cases hit the city proper.
Woodard told the Opelika-Auburn News on Tuesday night that the order doesn’t apply to the football program, which plans to play in Jordan-Hare Stadium this fall with the stands filled to 20% capacity, or any other athletics programs.
Woodard concluded his email by urging students to act now to head off another campus shutdown this fall.
“When you see others acting recklessly – with little regard for others – remove yourself from the situation and encourage those around you to do the same. If you can speak up, do so … Together, we can successfully complete the semester and show our peers what Auburn students can accomplish when we live by the shared values of our (Auburn) Creed.”
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