Long Island University is one of the few universities in the...

Long Island University is one of the few universities in the region in which nearly all classes are being held in-person. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Fourteen students at LIU Post in Brookville have tested positive for COVID-19 after off-campus gatherings involving members of several athletic teams, according to a letter sent Sunday by the school's chief of student affairs.

The students and their close contacts have been isolated and are quarantining while the university begins a detailed disinfecting of all impacted areas, Michael Berthel wrote in a letter to LIU parents and faculty.

"We will notify all students and faculty who are in classes with these individuals, however, if you were considered to be in close contact with someone who has tested positive, you would have already been contacted as part of the contact tracing process," Berthel wrote.

University sources said the incidents involve members of the LIU football, baseball and women's soccer teams. It was not immediately clear if all of the positive cases involved student athletes.

The letter makes no mention of closing the university on Monday for in-person classes.

University officials and union representatives for LIU staff did not respond to requests for comment.

LIU is one of the few universities in the region in which nearly all classes are being held in person — frustrating many professors who have preexisting medical conditions and were seeking accommodations to teach remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

Other Long Island colleges and universities chose to offer a mix of in-person, remote and hybrid classes.

Long Island University, which instructs thousands of students with campuses in Brooklyn and Brookville, has said its reopening plan was approved by the state Department of Health. Health protocols include mandatory mask wearing, social distancing and upgraded air quality for classrooms.

In his letter, Berthel said students had previously been directed to avoid large gatherings.

"These social and other violations of New York State and CDC guidelines are unacceptable and put the community at risk," he wrote. "These guidelines are not suggestions and must be strictly adhered to if you are to remain on-campus and residing in the residence halls."

Berthel urged students to take the virus seriously.

"The stakes are too high and we cannot take chances," he said. "Remain vigilant, renew your commitment to keeping yourself and our community safe, and act in a manner that demonstrates a genuine concern for your peers, your faculty, and your loved ones."

With Carol Polsky

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