University of Denver suspends 38 student-athletes after off-campus party

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The University of Denver has suspended 38 student-athletes from its swimming and diving teams following an off-campus party in violation of the school’s COVID-19 safety protocols.

The university has limited gatherings to 10 people with attendees required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing practices.

Chancellor Jeremy Haefner and athletics chancellor Karlton Creech addressed the suspensions in a letter obtained by the Denver Post. The student-athletes are barred from team activities through the remainder of the fall quarter and could face an interim academic suspension depending on the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

The swimming and diving season has been pushed back to January at the earliest because of the pandemic.

Student-athletes isolated until they test negative

The student-athletes will be placed on “location restrictions” until they test negative for COVID-19 “and possibly longer,” according to the letter.

“We understand that what we are asking all of our students to do — to change how they socialize and connect with their peers — is difficult,” the letter reads. “The realities of the COVID-19 pandemic are putting significant pressure on all of us. We also believe our students can rise to this challenge the way generations of young people have risen in the past to the unique challenges of their own time.”

The University of Denver has suspended 38 members of its swimming and diving teams. (Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
The University of Denver has suspended 38 members of its swimming and diving teams. (Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)

COVID-19 problems across U.S. campuses

The DU news arrives as universities and athletic departments across the country have struggled to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as school and football season has resumed.

Earlier in September, Texas Tech announced that 75 of its football players and 116 student-athletes in total had tested postive for COVID-19. The university has carried forward with its football season.

In August, the University of Louisville suspended activities of four fall sports after 29 COVID-19 cases were linked to an off-campus party.

The University of North Carolina moved its classes online after an on-campus COVID-19 outbreak at the onset of its fall semester in August.

Medical experts predict a fall wave of COVID-19 cases as seasons change and coronavirus restrictions are relaxed. A forecast by the University of Washington in early September predicted the death toll in the United States to rise to 410,000 by the end of the year.

As of Wednesday, Johns Hopkins data showed that the United States claimed 7.2 million of the world’s 33.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 207,000 of the 1 million global deaths attributed to the pandemic.

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