Two videos of hundreds of students at Villanova University in Pennsylvania not social distancing began circulating online this week, causing much concern amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The videos, which were posted to Twitter, showed freshman students from the class of 2024 on Wednesday who had just arrived on campus for orientation and some were not wearing face masks or standing six feet apart, according to reports.
School officials said students had gathered around a tent that was supposed to be used as an outdoor classroom, but the crowd dispersed when public safety officers arrived to break up the gathering. Students told NBC Philadelphia that the gathering had already been going on for two hours at that point, though.
Claire Humphrey, a freshman who arrived at the school on Monday for orientation, told the station she felt like gatherings like that are bound to happen.
“I feel like it’s inevitable at any college campus because you have all these people coming together after being away for so long,” Humphrey said. “But I think if you want to stay on campus, you need to be cautious and take precautions.”
The university required students to be tested for COVID-19 before coming onto campus, but the school said it has no plans to retest students.
On Thursday, the school’s president, Rev. Peter M. Donohue, sent a letter to students to remind them to respect the school’s COVID-19 safety measures, which requires social distancing and masks.
“I want students here who are willing to follow these guidelines and put Community First — at all times,” Donohue said. “If you can’t or won’t commit to this new way of doing things, then you shouldn’t be here. It’s as simple as that.”