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Penn Covid-19 Updates Chapter House

The University of Pennsylvania has announced that University housing will be open to Penn students for the spring semester. Certain restrictions, in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, will be in force to limit the number of students that can be accommodated, e.g. there can be no more than six students for each bathroom. However, fraternity and sorority chapter houses are not subject to Penn’s recent edict.

Penn has notified the fraternities and sororities that Penn’s Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL) will contact them to discuss and/or advise which chapter houses will reopen, and under what circumstances.

Despite the closing of Penn’s campus for the fall, there are approximately 25 Beta Pi undergraduates living off-campus in the Philadelphia area. They are committed to one-year leases that preclude them from living in the chapter house should it open. Assuming the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter house does reopen for the spring 2021 semester, the approximately 25 other Beta Pi brothers should be sufficient to fill the chapter house to the extent allowed by Penn.

Assuming the chapter house does reopen, it is not clear how Rush can be conducted pursuant to the guidelines established by Penn in previous years. OFSL has not yet reached out to the officers of Beta Pi.

 

Penn Sports

On November 12, 2020, the Ivy League canceled the entire winter sports season. Any prior hopes that the fall sports would be rescheduled in the spring will not come to fruition. In addition, spring sports will not be allowed to compete until at least the end of February, 2021. This marks two consecutive years that there have been cancellations in the Penn men’s and women’s basketball programs. The Ivy League announcement comes only 13 days prior to the scheduled start of the NCAA Division 1 basketball season on November 25.  

Penn’s Athletic Director, M. Grace Calhoun, in a written statement, stated, “This decision was not taken lightly and came after careful consideration and analysis of the current trends of the COVID-19 virus and ongoing campus restrictions. While we are disappointed for our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, alumni and fans, the health and safety of our communities must be the highest priority.”

The Ivy League, the first intercollegiate conference to cancel its men’s and women’s basketball championship tournaments this past spring, and the first to cancel all fall sports programs, is now the first to cancel all winter sports. It is expected, given the recent nationwide spike in COVID-19 cases, that other conferences will follow the lead of the Ivy League to cancel all winter sports.

The Ivy League Council of Presidents vote was unanimous. The following proclamation was then issued: “Regrettably, the current trends regarding the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put into place are impeding our strong desire to return to intercollegiate athletic competition in a safe manner.”