September 17, 2020

Dear UD Students,

As we close out the third week of the fall semester, we want to remind all University of Delaware students of the critical importance of protecting yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 and staying safe and healthy wherever you are this semester.

Many of you — indeed, a large majority — are stepping up and doing what is needed. We want to sincerely thank everyone who has been making responsible choices, even when it’s difficult, by following public health guidelines, downloading the COVID Alert DE app and holding yourselves and others accountable through the student conduct form, the LiveSafe smartphone app and conversations you are having with your peers. Your responsible actions are critical in order for us to all be able to return to a more vibrant campus experience.

It’s important to remember that even if you are not experiencing symptoms, you can now schedule a COVID-diagnostic test on campus. The University is working closely with the City of Newark and the Delaware public health authorities to ensure that everyone who wants a test can get one quickly. This partnership benefits every UD student, as well as our entire community.

Despite the positive behavior of most students, however, the actions of a few may be jeopardizing the health and safety of our entire community. Some students have continued gathering in large groups, not wearing face coverings and not keeping a safe physical distance from others. The repercussions have been serious:

  • Four large gatherings have been reported, resulting in more than 30 students being charged with violations of our code of conduct. The students responsible have received educational and disciplinary sanctions.
  • Additional reports concerning specific off-campus addresses where troubling behavior has occurred have been shared with both UD Police and Newark Police.
  • Students who have not complied with contact tracing, residence hall regulations and testing requirements were also referred to the Office of Student Conduct. While many students later complied with these requirements, others received sanctions.

Most consequential, in the past 24 hours, 34 students tested positive for COVID-19, the largest single-day spike we have seen.

As we elevate attention to health and safety protocols, we are also accelerating the severity and timing of student conduct actions. All students clearly understand the behavior that is expected of them, so we are instituting more serious consequences for violations. Beginning immediately:

  • UD will strictly enforce the City of Newark ordinances limiting gathering size (no more than 12 people indoors and no more than 20 outdoors), and consequences for anyone hosting an unlawful gathering will start with a minimum of suspension and may lead to expulsion.
  • Additionally, those alleged to be hosting an unlawful gathering will be placed on emergency suspension, resulting in being banned from campus until the issue is resolved.
  • Those who attend unlawful gatherings will also be sanctioned and can expect deferred suspension, suspension or expulsion, as circumstances dictate.

It is important to know that these changes focus on students’ behavior, not their health status. With our COVID-19 Amnesty protocol, you will not be punished if you test positive for COVID-19 or report a positive test to Student Health Services. However, health and protection measures — such as self-isolation, quarantine and additional testing — may be instituted by health officials, and students will be expected to follow these measures.

We are making these changes for one simple reason: It is absolutely essential that we do everything possible to slow the spread of COVID-19 at UD and throughout our extended community. Your health and safety — as well as that of everyone around you, whether you know them or not — depend on your behavior.

Please know that the Division of Student Life is available to support you, whether you are on or off campus. The new COVID-19 Testing Options for Students page contains important information about how to stay healthy and slow the spread of the coronavirus. On the Wellbeing page of the Student Life Virtual Hub, you can find information about physical and mental health support, guided self-care activities, and opportunities for virtual and safer in-person community engagement.

We know that we speak for your professors and everyone here at UD, as well as your family members, in saying that we are so proud of our Blue Hens who demonstrate responsibility and maturity. We are 100% confident that we can successfully navigate this difficult situation together.

Please continue doing everything you can to Protect the Flock, to uphold our health and safety standards, and to make the University of Delaware proud.


José-Luis Riera
Vice President of Student Life

Adam D. Cantley
Dean of Students

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE 19716   •   USA  •   (302) 831-8939   •