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