A “super-spreader event” at Monmouth University’s New Jersey campus led to over 100 positive cases of COVID-19, forcing the school to cancel all its in-person classes.
The university found out about the event, which happened two weeks ago off-campus, after it noticed a spurt of some 300 cases of the virus on the campus.
“Since we first reported a notable increase in COVID-19 cases on campus, we have learned … that this increase in cases among students was tied to an off-campus event hosted two weeks ago,” said Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, the university’s president.
The university didn’t specify what kind of event it was or when exactly it occurred, but NBC4 reported an “abundance” of parties at the university, citing students.
Only 10 Cases Three Weeks Back
The university’s COVID-19 online tracker shows a total of 323 confirmed cases as of October 14 — a huge leap from the 10 confirmed cases three weeks earlier.
Out of the total number, 96 are still active, which requires the infected person to remain in isolation for 10 days.
The university was conducting about two-thirds of fall classes online before the outbreak, Monmouth spokeswoman Tara Peters told NBC News, while about a tenth was in-person and the rest hybrid online/in-person.
“Our Health Services staff estimates that about 125 cases were connected to that event, either through attendance at the event or subsequent spreading to others by individuals in attendance,” she said, adding that all of those “individuals are out of isolation and counted as recovered.”
The school has not yet clarified whether fully remote learning will continue for the rest of the fall semester.
“I cannot emphasize enough the critical importance of compliance with Monmouth University COVID-19 protocols and State of New Jersey health and safety measures to effectively protect the Monmouth community,” President Leahy wrote on Friday.
“The future of our fall semester will rest, in large part, on the ability of everyone to follow these necessary protocols.”