CHICAGO — The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business is temporarily shifting to online classes and more than 100 of its students are under quarantine after a COVID-19 outbreak was connected to a large, off-campus gathering where some didn’t wear masks.
University of Chicago administrators shared the news in a schoolwide email Wednesday, saying Booth’s downtown and Hyde Park campuses will be closed for two weeks.
A copy of the email provided by the school said officials “learned that within the last week a large group of full-time MBA students congregated off-campus on Chicago’s North Side, many without wearing face coverings. Some individuals from that group have since tested positive for COVID-19.”
More than 100 MBA students were instructed to quarantine for 14 days, and all students involved in the event were told to get tested, the email said. Students who attended the event are cooperating with contact tracers, the email said.
A school spokesman did not comment on whether the students could face discipline. It’s not clear how many positive cases are linked to the gathering.
The university’s COVID-19 dashboard may not reflect the new cluster; the latest results available are through Oct. 9. As of that date, a total of 33 cases had been confirmed out of 12,932 tests since Sept. 20.
Classes for full-time MBA students began Sept. 21. Some were already offered in remote formats because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Continuing in-person activities on our campus depends critically on everyone following public health requirements to the greatest extent possible,” the email said. “It takes only one incident like this to put many others at risk.”
Courses outside the business school are not affected, the email said.
Other universities that pivoted to remote learning after early outbreaks had success driving cases down and have since restored in-person classes. Many of the large outbreaks at other campuses were connected to undergraduates parties, sometimes leading to expulsion or suspension of the participants.
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