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caption: Cases have slowed to a trickle on the University of Washington's Greek Row now that vaccines are widely available.
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Cases have slowed to a trickle on the University of Washington's Greek Row now that vaccines are widely available.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Juan Chiquiza

Covid cases are down as students on UW's Greek Row get vaccinated

Covid cases on the University of Washington’s Greek Row have slowed to a trickle as this corner of Seattle gets vaccinated.

About three quarters of the university’s fraternity residents are at least partially vaccinated. The sororities’ association president did not provide their vaccination rate, but did say that it’s “substantially high.”

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Vinny Speziale, the Interfraternity Council President, said those who haven’t gotten the vaccine yet have various reasons.

“A common one [was] parental concern,” he said. “Some parents don’t want their kids to get vaccinated.”

That said, Speziale added, “I would say they’re slowly coming around. I think everyone will be getting vaccinated at some point, especially with the whole UW mandate.”

But fraternity and sorority members can’t return to Greek life as usual yet.

About 2,000 students live on UW's Greek Row. The row suffered at least two Covid outbreaks over 2020. About 15 fraternities and sororities were struck by waves of infections. More than 100 fell ill over the summer, and more than 200 came down with Covid in October. It prompted the university to target the area with popup Covid testing, contact tracing, and quarantines.

Last fall, the governor instituted rules for fraternities and sororities. He limited the number of roommates per bedroom to two, and limited gatherings to five people, even if all of them are residents of the house.

“Greek life has been a little quiet and dead this year,” Speziale said. “People haven’t really been going out. There haven’t been fraternities hosting parties for sororities. A lot of people are living at home, doing school on Zoom.”

Speziale said he expects the state to lift the restrictions in the next few weeks, and that he hopes Greek life will look more like it usually does next fall.