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Weekend Party Near UO Campus Despite Extreme Risk Restrictions

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Lane County’s increased COVID-19 restrictions due to extreme risk status didn’t stop large gatherings over the weekend.

A social media post on Saturday shows a very large group of students packed together in a back yard near the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

Many wore Ducks gear on the day of the UO Football Spring game. The student who posted the photo told KLCC the party lasted several hours and people dispersed when it started to rain.

The University put out a statement expressing disappointment at what appears to be an off campus party with students. It said the UO is limited in the actions it can take with individuals who live in private homes. But the Dean of students is investigating complaints.

Pandemic protocols advise social distancing, avoiding large crowds, and the wearing of face masks.

The majority of new COVID-19 cases in Lane County are among the college age population of 20-29 year olds.

Jason Davis, with Lane County Public Health said he understands that young peeople want to be social and to have gatherings. But he begged the public to hold on a little bit longer and observe pandemic protocols. He said herd immunity is absolutely possible in Lane County by late June if people get the vaccine. 

Davis said the supply of vaccine doses is sufficient to bring the number of inoculated people to above 70 percent.  Davis compared it to being a half-mile from the finish line in a marathon.

"And our ability to get to that end is completely dependent on our community’s ability to just hang in there for a little bit longer," Davis said. "And I know we’ve been saying that for a year. I mean ever since we began the response to the pandemic we’ve been saying hang in there just a little bit longer. So I know that’s a tired message.”

Davis said pandemic fatigue and concerns over vaccine side effects are part of vaccine hesitancy. He says getting the vaccine is proven to be safe and is much better than getting sick with COVID-19. The state reports on Monday 351 people are currently hospitalized with the disease and 80 are in intensive care.

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Statement from the University of Oregon:

We are disappointed to see the photo of a large gathering of young people at what appears to be an off-campus party from over the weekend. The university has very worked hard to educate students about the serious COVID-19 health risks of gathering in groups without masks. This behavior is not representative of the majority of UO students, who we have seen work diligently to follow health guidelines. The UO is limited in the actions it can take with individuals who live in private homes. However, the Dean of Students is investigating complaints involving this photo, and will take any necessary appropriate actions. Consequences of violating the UO’s code of conduct may include educational sanctions, disciplinary probation or suspension depending on the egregiousness of the behavior.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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