Sacred Heart University suspends 109 students for violating coronavirus safety protocols

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Sacred Heart University suspended more than 100 students for violating coronavirus safety measures, officials said Tuesday, as campuses across America continue struggling to keep kids in check.

The Catholic school in Fairfield, Connecticut, has almost 10,000 undergrads and graduate students. It took action against 109 pupils this semester with suspensions of 7, 14 or 30 days. Two students have been removed from campus altogether for the rest of this term, Sacred Heart spokeswoman Deborah Noack said.

The violations were not wearing masks, failing to keep social distance, gathering in groups of more than 12 or having unauthorized guests.

Sacred Heart is operating in a hybrid model, with classes split between in-person and remote lectures — though any student has the right to go all-online.

Suspended students can still take their classes online, but cannot set foot on campus or participate in any other school activities.

Noack said she had a degree of sympathy for the suspended students.

“It’s understandable in a way, when you think about how much they’re going through and how much they’re missing the traditional college experience,” Noack told NBC News on Tuesday. “So yeah, I get it.”

But she added, “It’s not the right thing to do and there are consequences. But it’s hard to not do what you’re used to doing.”

Southern Methodist University students watch the game between their team the Mustangs and the Memphis Tigers in Dallas on Oct. 3, 2020.Tim Heitman / USA TODAY Sports

The Sacred Heart revelation came days after police moved in on the student section at a Southern Methodist University football game when the young fans didn’t wear masks or spread out. The odd scene played out late in the first half of SMU’s game agains Memphis at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas.

Some of the


More than 100 Sacred Heart University students suspended for violating COVID-19 protocols

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More than 100 Sacred Heart University students have been suspended for violating the school’s COVID-19 protocols since the start of the semester, a university spokeswoman said Monday.

In the past month, the private university in Fairfield has issued 109 total “COVID-related suspensions,” Executive Director of Communications Deborah Noack said in an email. Undergraduate classes began Aug. 31.

Suspensions typically last 14 days or 30 days depending on the situation, but two of the students became “repeat offenders” and have been removed from campus for the remainder of the semester, she added. While suspended, students are not allowed to come on campus or participate in any school-related activities.

In early September, following an uptick in coronavirus infections among students living off campus in Bridgeport, the university asked all students living in the city to attend classes from home and avoid visiting the school’s campus.

“With … this flare-up in Bridgeport, we need to be highly cautious and proactive in our decisions,” Sacred Heart officials wrote in a notice to students.

Less than three weeks later university President John J. Petillo chastised students in a video message, saying “a significant number” of them were not taking the pandemic seriously and said the school could suspend in-person education if its cases did not slow.

“We are at a real point of decision about the future of the semester on-ground,” he said in the Sept. 21 video. “We need to turn the tide and get the spread of the virus under control.”

Sacred Heart is not the first school in Connecticut to suspend students for ignoring COVID-19 health and safety protocols, but the total number of students cited is greater than has been reported at other colleges and universities in the state. Qunnipiac University, Connecticut College and UConn have also sent home undergrads for


Boston College says football team is following COVID safety protocols following controversial video of players celebrating after win

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A video of Boston College football players celebrating after a comeback win against Texas State has caused some controversy on social media. But the college says the team is following safety protocols amid the COVID pandemic.

“The team celebrated for a short period of time, roughly 30-60 seconds after the win,” said Jason Baum, senior associate athletic director for Boston College.

The players in the video, tweeted out by Boston College, had all been recently tested and quarantined until the game, he said.

“Per ACC regulations, the Boston College football team is tested three times per week for COVID-19,” he said. “The team was tested Friday afternoon and was quarantined in a hotel until the game on Saturday. The momentary post-game celebration in the locker room involved team members who had zero positive COVID-19 tests.”

Boston College said that out of the 3,700 tests that have been administered among the football team since they returned to campus in early June, only one test has come back positive. They also noted they will continue their regular testing, which includes three tests a week.

Newton City Councilor Alicia Bowman shared the video on Twitter noting her disapproval saying, “#COVID19 is real and deadly but clearly no one here cares about that.”

“As an elected official in #NewtonMA where much of the @BostonCollege campus is located, this video upsets me,” Bowman’s tweet said. “@BCFootball players do not live in a bubble. #COVID19 is real and deadly but clearly no one here cares about that.”

She also pointed out that Boston College has recently had more than 100 students tested positive for COVID-19 with the Baker administration stepping in to conduct contact tracing, hoping to contain the outbreak. She also pointed to a study about false negatives.

“The chance of false negatives seems