ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Almost 80 University of Central Florida sorority students have been asked to quarantine because of positive COVID-19 cases inside their houses.

What You Need To Know

  • In total, 79 students live in the affected houses

  • Residents likely caught COVID-19 at event, UCF says

  • Hosts of social events that risk COVID spread could face sanctions

  • Positive cases anger other UCF students

UCF did not specify the number of actual cases, saying only it was “a small number,” but indicated 79 women live in the three houses.

The university ordered students in three sorority houses  —  Zeta Tau Alpha, Kappa Alpha Theta, and Alpha Epsilon Phi  —  to self isolate for the next two weeks. It has asked the women to try to stay in their rooms, except to pick up food deliveries.

The positive cases in the houses likely were transmitted during social events, and other Greek chapters may have had similar gatherings, the university indicated in a statement. 

Students who are found to have hosted social gatherings that risk increasing the spread of COVID-19 could be placed on “interim suspension and face other sanctions, potentially as severe as separation from housing or the university,” university officials said.

Student Care Services has reached out to those quarantining to help get food or other services for them during the next two weeks.

Some UCF students reacted with frustration Tuesday after hearing the news. 

“I think it angers all of us because we all are one community here, trying to protect everyone another,” UCF student Tim Nguyen said. 

Claire Scribner, who lives in a sorority house across the street from Zeta Tau Alpha’s, said it can be hard to keep a virus out when you have so many people living under one roof, but that residents should till try. 

“(The house) Does have a lot of people going in and going out, like hundreds of members at a time,” Scribner said. “It is hard to maintain that, but what’s really important is to understand that you’re putting other people at risk as well.”  

Florida Health Department Officer for Orange County Dr. Raul Pino said similar behavior led to spikes in cases after Memorial Day weekend.

“This is the scenario we don’t want to repeat, and this is what we didn’t learn three or four months ago,” Pino said. 

The positive cases in the sorority houses are just another reminder to keep up the precautions most students already are taking, Scribner said.

“if we do have anything, it’s online through Zoom,” Scribner said. “If we have bonding events or anything, especially with the new members, always try to have it online with Zoom ... because we are still trying to take it very seriously.”