Infections show no serious symptoms
Pandemic putting crimp on fraternity life,
but 'we'll get through it,' says Consul
Under the cloud of Covid-19, the Alpha Upsilon undergrads are hanging in there.
The 2020 global pandemic is impacting nearly every aspect of life at fraternities everywhere, including at USC, and is now spilling into 2021.
A lot has been moved to zoom, of course, including classes, rush and non-ritual chapter meetings. Going to sporting events is not an option. Social events, including all sorority mixers and exchanges, have been cancelled.
Initiation ceremonies across all Sigma Chi chapters were specially designed by headquarters, called “temporary founders initiation,” to officially turn candidates into brothers but the full ritual is reserved for later. To follow Covid protocols, one candidate was initiated at a time.
The brothers chose a new Sweetheart virtually. Annie Bair, Delta Gamma, was chosen in May during an online competition. The brothers hope to hold a formal Sweetheart Ball after the pandemic wanes.
The biggest impact may be diminished time simply hanging out with each other.
Alpha Upsilon 2020-21 Consul Cooper Allen says, frankly, he doesn’t have a lot of good things to report about the situation. But he says the chapter has a good attitude about it and vows that “we’ll get through it.”
“Being located in one of the worst possible areas in terms of COVID outbreaks,” Coop says, “we were met by harsh policies and an unforgiving administration as we returned to campus this fall.” (Read his Consul’s Column here).
The chapter chose to follow an aggressive set of Covid protocols to manage the virus. “Having set the standard on the row for what it means to be a successful fraternity during a pandemic, I have all the faith in the world that we are in for round two of progression and prosperity in the spring, as well as a triumphant future in general.”
Nationally, fraternities became known as irresponsible super-spreaders. But, as is often the case, the spotlight was shown on outliers and did not accurately depict most fraternities, including AU, that made tremendous and genuine efforts to keep tabs on the virus.
Testing on campus is free and frequent. Coop reports that antibody tests show most of the undergraduate brothers had already had the virus well before arriving for the school year last summer. The few guys who did not, got the virus later, he says. But Coop says there have been absolutely no significant symptoms whatsoever. In fact, most guys never knew they had it. And many guys took extra precautions when returning home to their families and friends during semester break.
College-aged healthy men are at the lower end of the vaccination priority list. So, the undergraduate brothers are bracing for a long wait. Now the concern is whether vaccinations will be widespread in time for fall semester 2021 or whether life under Covid-19 will continue to disrupt life at Alpha Upsilon.
Even though new research suggests it is highly unlikely someone can become infected a second time, less is known about whether someone with immunity can continue to pass the virus to others.
Consul Cooper Allen says anti body tests suggest that most AU brothers had already acquired Covid-19 and fully recovered before they even arrived for the start of the school year. Not one brother reported any serious symptoms whatsoever.
Sigma Chi headquarters offering wide variety of Covid guidance