BYU-Idaho threatens suspensions for students intentionally contracting COVID-19

REXBURG — Brigham Young University-Idaho officials say they are “deeply troubled” by accounts of individuals intentionally exposing themselves to COVID-19 in order to sell their plasma containing coronavirus antibodies.

Students determined to have exposed themselves or others to coronavirus will be “immediately suspended” and possibly “permanently dismissed,” the Rexburg-based private university of some 20,000 students announced Monday.

“Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community,” the statement reads.

The notice was posted on BYU-Idaho’s coronavirus web page.

University spokesman Brett Crandall said the university would not provide more information on the number of confirmed instances, if any, or other evidence for such behavior in the community or on campus.

The New York Times last week placed Rexburg, home to BYU-Idaho, atop a national list of metro areas hit hardest by the virus. Local health officials recently placed Madison County at a high risk for COVID-19, citing over 60 cases per 10,000 people.

Campus spread continues to increase at BYU-Idaho, with 20 active employee cases and 105 active student cases reported Sunday. Last week, the university reported 12 active employee cases and 63 active student cases.

On Monday, BYU-Idaho again said it would move students and faculty to a fully online instructional model if local cases continue to climb.

“There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet,” Monday’s statement reads, adding that students can contact the university’s well-being office for financial, academic and health resources at @[email protected]

 

Devin Bodkin

About Devin Bodkin

Reporter Devin Bodkin covers education issues in East Idaho. He is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and educating students who live in poverty. He is a 2019 Solutions Journalism Network fellow and the Idaho Press Club's 2019 print reporter of the year. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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