Brigham Young University-Idaho said it is investigating reports of students who have intentionally exposed themselves or others to COVID-19 with the hope of getting the disease and being paid for plasma that contains antibodies.
The private university in Rexburg, Idaho, shared the development in a statement posted on its website Monday, saying it was “deeply troubled” by the accounts.
“The university condemns this behavior and is actively seeking evidence of any such conduct among our student body,” the school said. “Students who are determined to have intentionally exposed themselves or others to the virus will be immediately suspended from the university and may be permanently dismissed.”
The university warned that it may be forced to transition to a fully-remote instruction model if recent COVID-19 trends in surrounding Madison County and across Idaho continue.
“The contraction and spread of COVID-19 is not a light matter. Reckless disregard for health and safety will inevitably lead to additional illness and loss of life in our community,” the school said. “We urge all members of the campus community to act respectfully and responsibly by observing all public health and university protocols and placing the well-being of others above personal benefit or convenience.”
The university added that it “stands ready to help” students who are struggling with the physical, emotional and financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic.
“There is never a need to resort to behavior that endangers health or safety in order to make ends meet,” the school said.
At least 109 students and 22 employees at Brigham Young University-Idaho have contracted COVID-19, according to the latest data provided by the school.