University of Delaware suspends 19 student-athletes for violating COVID-19 protocols

NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) -- Local student-athletes are facing sanctions for violating COVID-19 protocols. The University of Delaware is handing down the punishments after learning of a large party at an off-campus residence last month.

Nineteen swimming and diving student-athletes have been suspended by the athletics department from all athletic-related activities.

Their suspensions range from 6 weeks to the full semester, but all of them have been put on probation by the university for the rest of the semester.

A letter from the university states the party took place on September 26 at an off-campus residence, which violates the COVID-19 guidelines and the student-athlete social pledge, as well as the city ordinance for indoor gatherings.

The city's ordinance states indoor gatherings need to be limited to 12 people, and outdoor gatherings to 20 people.

A statement from the university said, "We have spoken to our student-athletes at length about their responsibility of being back on campus. The protocols and guidelines put into place are ones that must be followed for us to provide a safe environment for not only the University but our community as well."

"While we have been fortunate with the behavior from a majority of our student-athletes in following the guidelines and social pledge. We cannot let up, we must stay focused and disciplined in all of our choices," said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak.

Many students Action News spoke with on campus said they were frustrated by the behavior.

"I'm more scared than upset because someone could have had a party on the weekend, and then come to class," said Rachel Sikes, a senior at the university.

"I wish my fellow students had more consideration for other people's health," said Charlotte Breef-Pilz, a junior.

A letter was sent to students on September 17, telling them about the city and university rules, as well as warning them about students who were not following the guidelines.

"I guess they didn't listen to the warnings," said Kate Fahey, a sophomore, referring to the suspended student-athletes.

The student-athletes that were involved were quarantined immediately and all were tested with negative results.
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