The Inter-Sorority Council announced in a statement Friday that they will resume in-person activities in strict compliance with University and state health guidelines. The statement was circulated internally by Clare Scully, ISC president and third-year Commerce student, and comes after both the Inter-Fraternity Council and ISC banned in-person gatherings Feb. 26 after both organizations faced criticism on social media for permitting in-person recruitment events.
“Your due diligence over the past two weeks played an important role in overcoming the previous surge and seeing numbers subside,” the statement read. “Taking such measures are difficult, but the numerous downward trends are optimistic indications that we are on the right track.”
The IFC continues to maintain a ban on all in-person gatherings through the end of March. In the statement, the ISC told members not to “support or attend” these events as any in-person fraternity events are in violation of IFC policy.
In January, both the IFC and ISC reversed their fall ban on in-person gatherings prior to the start of spring recruitment the weekend of Feb. 5. After the reversal, the ISC allowed chapters to host in-person gatherings only on bid day — all earlier recruitment rounds were held online — while the IFC allowed in-person gatherings throughout the 1.5-week recruitment period. During recruitment, students gathering in person were subject to University regulations limiting gatherings to six people, mandating mask-wearing when not actively eating or drinking and setting strict social-distancing guidelines.
After recruitment ended Feb. 14, the University saw record-setting spikes in COVID-19 cases and some students took to social media to speculate that in-person recruitment events had caused this spike. University leadership confirmed in a town hall that week that in-person recruitment had “no doubt” played a role in the surge of cases but maintained that the spike was the result of many small gatherings on and off Grounds and not one single superspreader event.
The Cavalier Daily received photo evidence that showed violations of University and state COVID-19 regulations by both sororities and fraternities. In the town hall, Dean of Students Allen Groves confirmed that COVID-19 violations have been brought against five fraternities, though a timeline for these violations and any potential relation to recruitment was not provided.
Current University COVID-19 guidelines mandate face coverings, physical distancing, and prevalence testing — the University increased the outdoor gathering limit to 10 individuals Thursday following a decline in positive cases.
“The objective of this revision is to maintain engagement within our communities and integrate new members, while prioritizing health and safety,” the statement read. “The physical, mental, and emotional health of our chapters, and U.Va. and Charlottesville communities is our priority, and it requires our enduring flexibility to strike the optimal balance among these considerations.”