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New sorority members officially join their chapters Aug. 22 during Bid Day held on Central Campus.

Across the nation, the sorority and fraternity community leadership are planning for an abnormal-looking fall in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week’s outbreak at 15 University of Washington fraternity houses provides an example of why fraternity and sorority chapter facilities need to make accommodations going into this semester.

Changes within chapter facilities will include increased cleaning and sanitation, enforcement of social distancing including mask wearing in common areas, adjusted food services and may also include limitations or exclusions on visitors in the house.

Junior and Theta Chi member Patrick Allen outlined some of the precautions his fraternity will be taking in the house to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We’re most likely going to have to eat in shifts, with 10 people to each shift,” Allen said. “We also won’t be having buffet-style meals for the foreseeable future, they’ll be premade. Only the chefs will be allowed to use the kitchen.”

Similarly to university housing, rooms will be decreased to accommodate for social distancing if possible.

“We’re going to be rearranging our cold airs and there’s going to be hand sanitizer and other cleaning supplies at every door,” Allen said. “I’ve even heard talk of locking a few doors for the entire semester, so we’ll pretty much only be able to use two, although nothing is official just yet.”

Not only will changes be made to living accommodations, but changes will also be made to fall recruitment, as well as future events and meetings that would usually occur at the chapter facilities.

“We’re most likely not going to be able to have chapter meetings and New Member Education at our house. Those will most likely be done online,” Allen said.

Junior Emma Plum, a leader and active member in the sorority and fraternity community, also said her chapter facility will be making adjustments to living conditions.

“In terms of housing, obviously a lot will need to happen to make living in chapter facilities safer, but that can be said for housing across the board,” she said.

Plum mentioned changes similar to changes Theta Chi will be making.

“I think that many chapter facilities are considering limiting guests, limiting kitchen use, making sure social distancing will be practiced during dining and spreading out members across rooms and such,” Plum said.

In addition to making adjustments to the chapter facilities, the sorority and fraternity community is also planning to make changes to the fall recruitment process.

Plum said for the Collegiate Panhellenic Council (CPC), recruitment will definitely look different than it normally would in an average fall semester.

“I think it is going to be a lot safer in many ways,” Plum said. “It’s definitely going to be a much different process than it has been in years past, but I’m confident that our councils and chapters will be able to adapt to the changes.”

Specific details regarding recruitment changes have not yet been announced to the public, but CPC Vice Presidents of Recruitment Emma Van Ryswyk and Tiffany Piper have said they are “diligently preparing to create the best possible recruitment for our chapters and potential members.”

With the uncertainty going into this semester and cases across the nation rising, plans are always subject to change based on what is needed.

As of now, Iowa State students are still being welcomed back to campus in the fall, with social distancing and mask wearing enforced. Testing will also be available for students, faculty and staff through Thielen Student Health Center.

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