It’s a warm spring night in State College, and Penn State students are gathering in yards and on porches. There’s music. There’s beer pong. But, social distancing and face masks? Not so much.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Penn State moved its summer classes online, and most students aren’t in town. That doesn’t mean student socilializing has disappeared.
State College police say they’re focused on educating partiers about the coronavirus safety guidelines.
State College Police Lieutenant Greg Brauser says the department has received calls of concern about social gatherings. But, those parties have been “minimal” and the people at them have been compliant and understanding.
“What the goal of our department has been throughout this entire process, with guidance from the District Attorney’s office that they gave to every agency in the county, is to do compliance through education," Brauser said.
That includes handing out fliers from the borough health department. They cover good hygiene, social distancing, avoiding travel and other recommendations.
Under the state’s COVID-19 rules, Centre County has “yellow” status. That means social gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed. The parties happening outside on a recent Saturday appeared to meet that standard.
“When we get there and find violations for noise or other things we would normally cite for, officers have been citing for those kind of violations. But the primary goal is to educate people on the reasons for trying to stop the spread of the virus," Brauser said.
He said the crowds they’re seeing now are not close to what they are used to dealing with. And large parties and underage drinking are bigger problems in the fall.