Greek life undergoes changes to keep members healthy

Many Greek houses formulated individual rules and protocols for members to abide by to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Kansas State sorority Alpha Chi Omega on Jan. 28, 2021. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Greek life at Kansas State adapted to the pandemic last fall to keep members safe, creating protocols and rules to do so while COVID-19 infections increased.

As the school year continued, COVID-19 rates slowed and declined.

Jackson Berland, sophomore in theatre and film amd Delta Sigma Phi member described the rate of infection in his fraternity house as a “wildfire.”

“[COVID-19] moved through the house the second week of school,” Berland said. “That was a nightmare and a half because none of us knew what we were doing.”

Some Greek houses couldn’t contain COVID-19 during the fall semester.

“It pretty much ran through our house early in the fall semester and dwindled down as the semester went on,” Faye Smith, sophomore in agricultural communication and journalism, said.

This semester, they saw an improvement in the health of members in the houses.

“[This semester] we have not had to have anyone quarantine or isolate, which has been fantastic,” Smith said.

Many Greek houses formulated individual rules and protocols for members to abide by to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

“The chapters that have facilities spent the summer creating protocols based on CDC guidance, their insurance providers guidance, and of course local health orders,” Jordan Kocher, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said.

The protocols included masks in common spaces, quarantine and isolation as needed, increased cleaning schedules and responsibilities and working with the Riley County Health Department as needed to contain the spread.

Some sororities and fraternities looked to their national association for additional guidance on how to keep the houses clean and safe.

“Our national fraternity put out a huge guide on our website to help create our own individual plan,” Zach Hoeven, senior in professional strategic selling and former Phi Delta Theta president, said.

Hoeven said it was important to keep a positive outlook on the situation. For some people, he said, this is their first year of college, and for others, this is their last.

“I’d say we handled it well because we have had a positive outlook on it the whole way,” Hoeven said. “We’ve tried making the most of everything rather than sit around and pout about the bad things.”

Smith said they came as a community to make sure they’re fighting COVID-19 the “best way possible.”

Berland is happy to see things start to go back to normal.

“I think we need to count our blessings right now of how no one in the house has died of this,” Berland said. “We now have a sense of normality in the house that we are allowed to be around one another safely and responsibly.”