No Halloween tricks here: ASU reminds students to follow safety guidelines

The first month of classes led to over 60 suspensions, and University-wide emails remind students to celebrate Halloween with COVID-19 guidelines in mind

There are no tricks for Halloween treats this year; the University still wants students to remain responsible and follow the University's COVID-19 guidelines. 

In an email sent to all students Friday, Joanne Vogel, vice president of student services, reminded students of the University's "ongoing commitment to ASU's Community of Care."

She said in the email students should engage in social activities that adhere to "responsible health practices," which include maintaining six feet of distance, wearing a face mask, avoiding large gatherings, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.

The email included no new or updated safety precautions and no list of possible retribution students would face if caught not social distancing at parties or other gatherings. 

According to a University spokesperson, as of Sept. 22, there have been 65 students and student groups placed on interim suspension – 13 were student groups and 52 were individual students. The spokesperson did not say how many of those interim suspensions were related to violations of COVID-19 guidelines.

Gary Ballinger, director of fraternity and sorority life, said in an email to members of fraternities and sororities earlier this week he hoped members reflected on costume choices and would follow health guidelines when socializing on Halloween. 

"There are plenty of ways to have fun without being inappropriate, offensive, or reflecting poorly on the shared values and principles of our community," Ballinger said in the email. 

READ MORE: Celebrating Halloween in an already horrifying year

Ballinger directed students to weekend events hosted by the University which include hikes and virtual costume and makeup contests. 

Dylan Williams, a freshman studying information technology, said he has no plans for Halloween. Nonetheless, he is still worried about what some others may do over the weekend. Even though the University is doing the best it can to advise students to take precautions, "it just takes one person to spread it," he said.

"There's consequences and warnings (from the University), but it’s hard to stop college kids from partying," Williams said.

According to an update posted Thursday, the University reported 86 active cases of the coronavirus within the school community. Of those cases, 74 of the infections are among students and 12 of them are among employees. 

The University has reported 2,129 cumulative cases of COVID-19 within the ASU community since Aug. 1. 

On Saturday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 1,901 new COVID-19 cases and 45 additional deaths, bringing the state totals to 245,946 cases and 5,979 deaths. 

Infections across the country are not slowing, rather, are increasing past records set in June. According to tracking and modeling done at The New York Times, the U.S. recorded over 99,000 cases of the coronavirus Saturday. 

Before heading off for Thanksgiving break, Vogel's email recommended students utilize free COVID-19 testing at the University "to ensure that you keep the virus away from others, especially older or vulnerable individuals."


Reach the reporters at pjhanse1@asu.edu and wmyskow@asu.edu and follow @piperjhansen and @wmyskow on Twitter. 

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