Are UT sororities and fraternities required to clear out during COVID-19 orders?

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin and the neighborhoods around it appear to be mostly deserted as all classes were moved online for the rest of the spring semester to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

KXAN viewers have been asking for clarification on President Greg Fenves’ message on March 17 asking students to not return to campus. The university decided to close residence halls.

Several people asked: What about sorority and fraternity houses where dozens of students are packed into close quarters? Is staff still being asked to show up and cook meals, and put themselves at risk?

Sara Kennedy, the spokesperson for the Office of the Dean of Students said unlike some of UT’s peer institutions, no sorority or fraternity houses are on UT property.

“These private organizations are outside the university’s authority to close, however Sorority and Fraternity Life in the Office of the Dean of Students has been in contact with these organizations, with their house directors, and with their advisors, to keep them updated on the university’s plans as well as to help them in their own decision-making,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy said these organizations fall under the city and county’s stay-at-home order and the order pertaining to gatherings of 10 or more people. KXAN is in the process of checking with the city of Austin and Travis County.

When KXAN drove by a couple of fraternity houses in West campus Tuesday, there did not appear to be any action.

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