More than three dozen students are in isolation or quarantine, including several hockey players, due to a coronavirus outbreak sparked by dorm room visits and gatherings at a suburban college, school officials said.
The president of Lake Forest College said in a letter Wednesday that 12 students tested positive for the virus this week and were in isolation. Another 28, President Stephen D. Schutt said, were in quarantine due to having close contact with those who tested positive.
The outbreak has left a majority of the school's men's hockey team in either isolation or quarantine, Schutt said, noting that the number of positive cases and close contacts could rise as contact tracing continues. He warned the remainder of the semester could be in jeopardy if cases continue to rise.
"The college has received clear information that a number of these students – and potentially others – violated the Forester Commitment by visiting each other’s residence hall rooms and gathering socially last Saturday night, January 30," Schutt wrote. "The health costs for them are now all too evident."
Schutt said more than one student thought that because they received a negative test the day before the gathering that "meant it was safe to gather with others on Saturday and ignore the rules."
"I want to correct that mistaken belief right away: a person can test negative on one day and test positive the next. A single negative test offers no guarantee: one could still be carrying the virus," the letter read.
According to Schutt, the school is investigating the gatherings and what happened since and students or teams found violating the school's social distancing and gathering restrictions "will face appropriate disciplinary consequences."
"This state of affairs – in the first week of the semester – is deeply regrettable," he wrote. "Your desire to be with each other is completely understandable after the long periods you’ve experienced away from campus. But 12 students in isolation and another 28 in quarantine should be a warning for every student."