Alaska university athletes quarantined for virus after party
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — The University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team and other student athletes are in quarantine or isolation after athletes tested positive for COVID-19 following an off-campus party, administrators said.
The 37 University of Alaska Fairbanks students, including the entire hockey team, were placed in isolation after six hockey players and an athlete from another university team tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said.
Multiple athletes from different sports attended the Aug. 22 gathering, University of Fairbanks Chancellor Dan White said.
There were no university staff members at the party, but head hockey coach Erik Largen was also quarantined because he had close contact with players, officials said.
The university does not know if every member of the hockey team was at the party. All of the players are in quarantine because they have been in close contact while working out together. They have not taken part in formal practices, said Keith Champagne, vice chancellor for student affairs and athletics.
“When we first got a notification that one of the students tested positive from the hockey program we immediately (quarantined) everybody to be prudent and to take precautions of our student’s health,” Champagne said.
Officials expect hockey games and practices will be postponed, although that was not immediately confirmed.
Those who attended the party could face discipline if officials determine they violated the university’s COVID-19 mandates, which were outlined in an agreement signed by students living on campus.
The school’s Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities is investigating and discipline could range from verbal warnings to suspension or expulsion, Champagne said.
“It was poor judgment,” Champagne said.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.