Philadelphia health department issues guidelines on social gatherings

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The efforts to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, as students return to campuses across the city. Saturday, Philadelphia's health department says it wants students to avoid attending parties, of any size.

Action News spoke to students at Temple University about this.

"I don't think everyone's going to follow that rule," said Max Deflitch, a freshman.

The city's health department just issued a new guideline for university students to avoid all social gatherings with people outside of their household.

"No partying, that's a small price to pay for not catching COVID," said Shane Nelson, a junior.

This comes after ongoing COVID outbreaks at colleges and universities across the country and in Philadelphia. The city put out a memo saying students who tested positive said they attended small social gatherings with fewer than the current 25-person legal limit.

"I've seen like parties that can get up to like twenty people probably on Snapchat and social media," said Matthew Giovannini, a sophomore at Temple. "I haven't been to a huge party personally, but I've been to little get-togethers."

Some students living in Temple University's dorms said they're already limited to how many guests they can bring anyway, so this won't be hard to follow.

"I think it's really smart I think Temple's doing a really nice job with all the guidelines, and stuff just like trying to keep everyone as separate as possible," said Rob Pilarski, a freshman.

While other students said they want to interact with other students they don't live with.

"It doesn't make sense, cause like there are outbreaks you don't know, who has it and who doesn't," said Dylan Blum, a freshman.

However, some underclassmen feel like their college experience, which includes attending parities, is being restricted by the city.

"It's kind of hard for the freshman cause they're new to college, and want to have the college experience," said Dana Shelton, a senior.

"I do want to party, but we have to take these protocols and try to make the best of it," said Max Deflitch, a freshman.

Whenever people cannot avoid coming in close contact with people outside their household, the Health Department recommends, they should wear masks.

Part of the city's statement said:
The Health Department is currently developing communications to colleges and universities detailing the new guidance. The colleges and universities have been working closely with the Health Department on plans to reduce the risk of spread on campus and are following those plans. However, interviews suggest that risk continues in small social gatherings that are not organized or sanctioned by colleges.

The City's COVID-19 website is always updated with the latest guidance, recommendations, and data: https://www.phila.gov/COVID.
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