MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Students at St. Olaf got a stern warning from the college’s president, after more than a dozen were suspended for partying before returning to campus. This after, earlier this week, WCCO reported on the school’s strict guidelines so it can hold in-person classes.

The first day of online class at St. Olaf, students learned the college suspended 17 for attending an off-campus party. Fifty are under quarantine, and eight students have tested positive for COVID-19.

“I would have just hoped that they would have had the rest of the population and the campus in mind when they made decisions,” sophomore Lily Hanlon said.

Upon returning to school, each student had a COVID-19 test. Everyone must have two before in-person classes can start on Sept. 3. Students are kept on campus with limited movement until then.

“Our school has been taking these measures is to have us in person for classes and have classes on campus period,” Hanlon said.

President David Anderson sent a letter to students and parents, saying too many people were together at a party without masks or physical distancing.

“This is the kind of reckless behavior that will put an end to our in-person semester, and it must stop,” the letter read.

Anderson went on to say at least one student at the party had COVID-19 and exposed other students, who then exposed rooommates, who are “now having to pay a costly price for others’ poor choices.”

“I am sort of glad it happened now because it really sets the tone I think,” Hanlon said.

The roommates say this shows nothing will go under the radar, and say the consequences have been reinforced.

“I’m hoping that because of this big blow it shows that people that they need to take it seriously,” sophomore Mae Guetschow said.

Each student signed a community pledge at the beginning of the year. It included agreeing to wear a mask, practice physical distancing, avoiding crowded places and mass gatherings and more.

No visitors are allowed on campus this fall.

Jennifer Mayerle