Catholic Student Center Hosts Non-Compliant Halloween Party

By Bri Carr, Staff Writer-

UTC’s Catholic Student Center moved forward with their annual Halloween party open to the public, without health restrictions including social distancing, mask requirements or capacity limitations.

According to the university’s Covid-19 informational dashboard, there are currently 38 open student cases that have tested positive for the virus and a total of 182 students in quarantine. Despite the data, the CSC listed the party as a “social” and “in-person” event on the MocSync website.

The Echo spoke with Dr. Chris Smith, UTC’s Chief Health Affairs Officer about CDC requirements for the safety of the university’s community.

“The CDC is recommending against any large holiday gatherings…for all events, a mask is worn. There should be some type of sign in so, in the event of a positive case, they can contact those who were in attendance. For any event, masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene is absolutely expected,” she said.

At the entrance, students signed in and temperature checks were required before entering. Upon entry, attendees engaged in conversations in close range without wearing masks for precaution. The social event lasted over four hours, where students carved pumpkins, played games, ate Halloween-themed food and competed in a costume party.

According to UTC’s interim Covid-19-related policies webpage, face masks should be worn by everyone on campus grounds, unless having an approved special request. Additionally, student organizations hosting off-campus events should comply with state and local health regulations or could face disciplinary action.

Smith also explained what is needed for the university to show improvement and the potential outcomes of not following safety procedures.

“The University is operating based on CDC mandates. Our students, faculty, and staff will have to follow our protocols closely to get through this,” she said. “The possible consequences of a party or gathering that does not follow the guidelines no matter who is hosting can be the spread of the virus to one or many of the guests.”

As Covid-19 cases are on the rise across the country, students, staff and faculty on UTC’s campus are required to follow CDC guidelines to help decrease spread the virus. To view UTC’s interim Covid-19 policies, visit https://new.utc.edu/academic-affairs/university-policies-and-procedures/administration-and-operations/interim-covid-19-related-policies.

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