U of M officials investigating large weekend party outside residence halls

University of Minnesota
Photo credit (Getty Images / Pratik Goswami)

University of Minnesota officials are reviewing video footage from over the weekend that shows a large gathering violating COVID-19 guidelines outside the four “Superblock” residence halls on the Minneapolis campus.

Videos from the Saturday night gathering show swarms of students standing close together.

The University of Minnesota's COVID plan is failing miserably. Hundreds of freshman out partying and campus security didn't even answer the phone when called for help to shut this down. Profs & TAs these are the students showing up on Monday to in person classes pic.twitter.com/5KFwaXPEv1

— Meghan Cahill (@MeghanCahill3) September 20, 2020

pic.twitter.com/1gVodMeLjD

— Meghan Cahill (@MeghanCahill3) September 20, 2020

A majority of classes at the U are being taught online and began September 8. Officials delayed the start of in-person classes until Monday after colleges nationwide reported COVID-19 outbreaks.

The issue hits close to home for Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

"Just as we would not want these students to go out and get intoxicated and get behind the wheel and drive, we also don't want them partying and being in large numbers together transmitting this viruts," Osterholm told Dave Lee on Wednesday morning. "We have seen a number of outbreaks in the stated tied to bars and events like this. We have a lot of messaging to do here."

Dr. Osterholm said a lot of younger patients are becoming more ill after contracting COVID-19 by developing chronic fatigue syndrome.

"They just have no energy and have heart and lung issues," Osterholm said. "I know young, healthy adults who are six weeks into their illness who are home and on oxygen. This is a condition that may be impacting 20 to 30 percent of the population who develops this infection. This is not something you want to get."

The U released a COVID-19 fall plan. The Maroon and Gold Sunrise plan is currently in phase one according to officials.

Phase one reads:

"Students will live and learn almost exclusively within residence halls for at least 10 days. Students should not visit other residence halls, businesses or residences off-campus. The time to be back in residence halls is 9 p.m.."

The plan calls for students to wear face masks and physically distance. Students who don't follow the requirements could have their housing contract terminated and face disciplinary action.