Swiss authorities have ordered a quarantine for the entire undergraduate student population of a prestigious hospitality management school after “significant outbreaks” of COVID-19.
Health officials in Switzerland’s Vaud canton, or region, announced Wednesday that all 2,500 undergraduate students at the “Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne” (EHL) must self-quarantine until at least Monday, whether they live on- or off-campus. Those who develop symptoms are advised to get tested for COVID-19, if necessary.
“Significant outbreaks of infection have appeared in several levels of training, making it impossible to close more targeted than that of the 2,500 students concerned,” health officials said in a statement, adding that student parties are suspected to “be at the origin of these numerous outbreaks of infection.”
Classes will continue online in the meantime.
Health officials said the school’s administrators are taking “all the necessary measures” to ensure that learning isn’t disrupted and to reinforce health measures on campus.
The parties in question took place just before the enforcement of coronavirus-related measures announced by regional authorities on Sept. 15, according to a spokesperson for the school, Sherif Mamdouh.
In a statement obtained by ABC News on Thursday, Mamdouh said that the school is “working closely” with regional health authorities “to provide best possible support to the contaminated students, who have so far reported only minor symptoms.” Remote learning courses had already been imposed for all undergraduate students from Sept. 21-28, according to Mamdouh.
“EHL had prepared contingencies plans over the summer, and had put in place a hybrid and flexible learning infrastructure, which allows EHL to control population density almost in real time and ensure continuity of the academic program,” Mamdouh said in the statement. “An important system has been put in place on campus to ensure the highest health standards and to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible.”
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health has reported at least 51,492 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 4,809 hospitalizations and 1,776 deaths.