Why are Oxford and Miami taking mass gatherings so seriously?

Why are Oxford and Miami taking mass gatherings so seriously?

Both the City of Oxford and Miami University have announced a 10-person limit on social gatherings, in alignment with orders from the State of Ohio. There are exceptions to this rule (e.g. class, etc.), but both the city and the university are enforcing violations with serious consequences for those found responsible.

Citations issued by the Oxford Police Department (OPD) include a fine of $500 (first violation) or $1,000 (second violation) for hosts. Miami is charging offending students with Endangering Public Health & Safety – a violation that carries “suspension” as its typical sanction. 

Limiting mass gatherings is an important factor in Miami’s ability to bring students together this year. The reasons are three-fold: 

  1. The first one is obvious. More people = more likely to be exposed to COVID-19. 
  2. When you are around more people, it’s harder to figure out exactly WHO was exposed when there is a positive COVID-19 case. So contact tracing becomes a lot more difficult if you attend a party with 50 people. It’s likely you wouldn’t know every person who attended with you, or wouldn’t be able to remember every person you were in close contact with. 
  3. Quarantine space. The university has a limited number of quarantine rooms on campus. So even if you attend a party with 50 people and can remember every single person at the party, Miami is going to run out of quarantine beds very quickly if all those people need to be quarantined on campus. That could be reason enough to shut down in-person classes for the semester. 

So please – stick with your small pod of friends and avoid larger gatherings. You can pick the reason (to not get in trouble… to not get sick… to not get other people sick… to help Miami stick to the plan of in-person classes…).