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Monroe County is enforcing its greek house capacity. Here's how one is cutting down.



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The Alpha Gamma Delta house is seen Sunday. Fifty members of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority will voluntarily move out according to messages sent to members and parents obtained by the Indiana Daily Student. Alex Deryn

Following a Sept. 10 message from chapter leadership to de-densify the house because of Monroe County COVID-19 regulations, 50 members of the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority will voluntarily move out according to messages sent to members and parents obtained by the Indiana Daily Student. 

The message was sent on Sept. 16 and included a timeline of the sorority's COVID-19 response.

Alpha Gamma Delta’s Bloomington chapter president and national organization representatives did not respond to multiple requests for comment from the IDS. 

The Monroe County Health Department regulates all communal housing be capped at 75%. The Monroe County Health Board knew of multiple houses operating in excess of that limit as discussed at a meeting last week.

That included Alpha Gamma Delta which, according to messages to members and parents, was at 89%. 

Alpha Gamma Delta recently came off quarantine and has reported 12 total COVID-19 cases among live-in members since Aug. 19, according to IU’s data. The sorority’s 10.53% positivity rate in mitigation testing is lower relative to other houses placed on quarantine by Monroe County. 

At last week’s Monroe County Health Board meeting, members stated a desire to more strongly enforce the 75% capacity limit. 

“One of the best preventative measures for congregate living facilities is to reduce the amount of close contact residents have with others living in the house,” Penny Caudill, Monroe County health administration, said in an email statement to the IDS. “There can be a variety of ways to do this but it often starts with reducing the numbers of people living in the residence.” 

The 50 members of Alpha Gamma Delta who requested to move out of the house will bring the total capacity of the house below 50% — which is the ultimate recommendation of Monroe County. 

The chapter announced in an email that it will honor the requests for live-in members to leave the house for the rest of the semester. It is unclear whether greek houses will open in the spring.

Alpha Gamma Delta’s message states members will be expected to move out by Sept. 27. The members moving out will be charged a $2,445 breakage fee of the housing agreement, though room and board that has already been paid will be credited toward that cost. The sorority plans to supplement the remaining funds with the chapter’s savings. 

As of now, those 50 members will still be expected to pay full costs for the spring semester. 

Remaining members in the house have the option to move rooms once that space opens up according to the sorority’s message. That could be used to create more space in living arrangements for the members still in the house. The members staying in the house will continue to pay full room and board.

Alpha Gamma Delta’s message reports a maximum occupancy of 124. Move-in occurred between Aug. 18 and Aug. 23, with 110 members moving in. 

While the board has seen some houses working with the board to get the total capacity within the county’s regulation like Alpha Gamma Delta, some houses have not. 

The Monroe County Health Board said last week it has worked with houses like Alpha Gamma Delta to move below the capacity limit. However, the board said last week not every house has worked to de-densify. Houses that do not follow the county’s regulation could face legal action. 

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