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Following the 4th of July weekend, UC Santa Barbara’s student body received an email from the school’s Director of Health and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs informing them that a private citizen in Isla Vista had notified authorities over the weekend about a “COVID party” that was held in Isla Vista, presumably hosted by UCSB students.
COVID parties, a troubling trend brought on by the pandemic, are intended to let partiers contract the virus. Multiple Isla Vista residents confirmed that parties did take place over the holiday weekend, citing busy, noisy streets. But the details remain murky about whether any of the parties was a COVID party.
One student took to Twitter to name four students as the hosts of the COVID party, posting the students’ pictures and address in addition to a photo of the party invite. The accused students denied the information, saying that while they did host a party, hardly anyone came and the purpose was not mass infection.
At a time when cases continue to rise in Santa Barbara County, any large gathering of people who don’t live together poses a risk of spreading COVID-19. “With the number of confirmed cases in Isla Vista continuing to rise, we are concerned that some students are not taking the precautions necessary to mitigate the spread,” the email to students read. As of July 9, there are three active cases in Isla Vista, and 53 in the City of Santa Barbara.
According to the email, the university is asking students to report information on the incident to Student Health services. As well, UCSB stated that students who violate public health orders or university policies on COVID-19 violate the Student Conduct Code and may face disciplinary action.