“Violations to our health and safety protocols, both on and off campus, are subject to harsh disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from UA,” Bell wrote in a letter to the campus community on Sunday.
Penn State suspended its second fraternity this week for social distancing violations, according to a Sunday statement from the university.
Pi Kappa Alpha has been suspended for “hosting a large social gathering” on Saturday, that included about 70 students, the university said. The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was previously suspended from the campus following an August 18 gathering that violated school policy, the university said.
Despite the rise in cases, University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto cautioned against blaming students for the higher positivity rate on the school’s campus.
“Let me be clear: This is not an act to blame the students who reside in these facilities or who belong to these organizations,” he wrote. “We believe a number of factors associated with communal living spaces likely contributed to the high positivity rates in these residences.”
Concerns and questions about the new school year
On the K-12 front, school districts are still trying to figure out how to navigate the academic year during the pandemic.
Many schools across the country have implemented increased measures to protect students and staff against the virus, even though researchers are still learning how the virus spreads among young children.
The CDC encouraged schools to work closely with local and public health leaders if there is an infected person on campus. But rather than shut everything down immediately for a long period of time, the guidelines said one option is an initial short-term class suspension and cancellation of events and after-school activities, so that public health leaders can get the time they need to determine how widespread the infections are.
If schools are using a pod system, keeping certain students together, administrators may only need to close certain parts of the building where an infected person had been.
A school district in Michigan canceled all classes and after-school activities for Monday — its first day of school — after “receiving a threat” on Sunday, according to an alert on the district’s website.
The Leslie Public Schools District did not offer details on the nature of the threat, but said it will work with law enforcement to assess the threat.
Convalescent plasma for Covid-19 treatment
Convalescent plasma is created from the blood of people who have recovered from Covid-19, and it has shown some success in two other deadly coronaviruses: MERS and SARS. It has also been used to treat flu and Ebola.
The agency said it concluded that it may be effective in treating Covid-19 and that “the known and potential benefits of the product outweigh the known and potential risks of the product.”
Some experts, however, say there is not enough solid data to support the use of the plasma.
“The problem is, we don’t really have enough data to really understand how effective convalescent plasma is,” Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor of medicine at George Washington University and a CNN medical analyst said Sunday.
Art Caplan, founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU School of Medicine, told CNN he’s worried about whether there’s a large enough supply of convalescent plasma, which relies on donations from Covid-19 survivors.
“We’re going to get a gold rush towards plasma, with patients demanding it and doctors demanding it for their patients,” Caplan said.
Trump administration officials cited a Mayo Clinic-led study that showed a 35% improvement in survival among people given the highest doses of the treatment early on in their illness compared to those who were treated later.
FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn says studies have shown convalescent plasma is safe and the treatment has been given to patients with infectious diseases for more than a hundred years.
“There was a really good rationale for why this might work,” Hahn said at a White House briefing called in part Sunday to announce the emergency use authorization. “In the independent judgment of experts and expert scientists at FDA who have reviewed the totality of data … more than a dozen published studies … those scientists have concluded that Covid-19 convalescent plasma is safe and shows promising efficacy, thereby meeting the criteria for an emergency use authorization.”