The entire University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey team is either in quarantine or isolation after at least one player tested positive for COVID-19 after attending an off-campus party, UAF administrators said Saturday.
In total, six hockey players and an athlete from another UAF team have tested positive for the disease in the days after the Aug. 22 party, and they are now in isolation.
Another 21 hockey players plus six other athletes and head hockey coach Erik Largen are quarantined until at least Sept. 5 because of their exposure to those with COVID-19, the school said.
Multiple athletes from multiple sports attended the party, UAF chancellor Dan White said during an afternoon media briefing.
“It was poor judgment,” Nanooks athletic director Keith Champagne said.
The school said it doesn’t know if all the athletes who tested positive also attended the party, and that any connection between the cases remains unclear at this time.
UAF also doesn’t know if the entire hockey team was at the party, but all of the players are in quarantine because they have been in close contact with each other, Champagne said.
No coaches were at the party, administrators said, but Largen is also quarantined because he’s been in close contact with the players.
Additionally, UAF sent a message to Student Recreation Center users outlining dates and times — from Aug. 21 to 25 — of potential exposure at the center to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Those who went to the party could face discipline if it’s determined they violated university rules or mandates about COVID-19. The school’s Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities is investigating, and discipline could range from verbal warnings to suspension or expulsion, Champagne said.
He said students this school year are expected to abide by school policies subjecting them to all federal, state, local and university mandates and protocol regarding COVID-19. Students living on campus must sign a pledge agreeing to those mandates and guidelines, he said.
In the section covering activities and socializing, the pledge said social distancing doesn’t just mean staying 6 feet away from people: “It means keeping your social circles small and consistent and avoiding large gatherings of people. It means meeting virtually when possible and limiting the number of times you visit public places.”
Champagne said the majority of the hockey players who tested positive have moved into Stevens Hall, which is being used for on-campus residents who have COVID-19. Those who live off-campus will isolate at their residences.
A total of 15 UAF students are currently isolated with COVID-19 and another 37 are currently quarantined because they have been exposed to the virus, the school said.
The Nanooks aren’t expected to play any games until late this year or early next year, because the pandemic has caused delays to college sports across the nation, White said. Sports facilities won’t be available to UAF teams until after Labor Day.
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