Fraternities, sororities linked to KU coronavirus cases

Early testing as students and staff returned to the University of Kansas turned up 89 coronavirus cases, with a large majority involving fraternities and sororities, the university said Thursday.

The university said 87 students and two faculty or staff members tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The tests were conducted before the beginning of activities and classes. The university has seen a positivity rate of 1.25% for the 7,088 tests conducted so far.

“This positivity rate is in line with what we’ve expected and prepared for as we began this process in consultation with our Pandemic Medical Advisory Team," Chancellor Douglas A. Girod said.

University officials in a conference call were told that 70% of student cases involved members of fraternities and sororities.

Testing is mandatory for students, faculty, and staff who plan to be on the university's campuses in Lawrence or Overland Park before Labor Day.

The university conducted the testing to identify positive cases early and ensure people with the virus were isolating away from campus, Girod said.

Another reason for the early testing was to establish a baseline positivity rate to determine appropriate safety, infection prevention, education, and testing efforts moving forward, he said.

Moving forward, the university plans a more targeted testing effort and random sampling.