GUELPH -- Officials in Guelph issued an open letter to students on Thursday urging them to avoid large gatherings in the wake of a "worrying trend" of on-campus parties.

The letter – sent to all University of Guelph students – was co-signed by the university's president Charlotte Yates, Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph's medical officer of health Dr. Nicola Mercer.

"In recent weeks, we have seen a worrying trend of large, unsafe gatherings on university campuses, including at the University of Guelph," the letter reads. "These gatherings put our health and safety at risk."

There have been two confirmed large gatherings on campus at the University of Guelph since the school year began. Two teenagers were arrested at a gathering this past weekend, although neither were students.

The university's home opener football game is this Saturday.

The letter reiterates that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over, adding students can do their part to protect themselves and others from infection.

"Being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from the most serious outcomes of COVID-19 and its many variants. However, no vaccine is 100-per-cent effective. Without taking other precautions, you can still become infected and infect others who may be more vulnerable to serious illness," the letter states.

On top of avoiding large parties, students are being reminded to physically distance and wear masks, even outside, when a two metre distance cannot be maintained.

"Avoid large gatherings, especially if you don’t know who is vaccinated and who is not. Drinking, eating, shouting and singing in crowded spaces all increase the odds of transmission," the letter said. "Reconsider your party plans. Socialize in small groups and with people you know. Stay home if you are unwell."

The letter also reminds students of the consequences associated with hosting parties over the COVID-19 limits. Hosts of large gatherings can be fined up to $10,000 and attendees $880. Noise and nuisance tickets can range from $365 to $615.

The University of Guelph's non-academic misconduct policy applies to behaviour on and off-campus. Defying that policy can result in fines, non-academic probation, suspension and eviction from residence, the letter states.

"Do not put yourself, or the in-person school year we want to offer you, at risk. We have all done so well in the past 18 months to slow the spread of COVID-19," the letter concludes. "Let’s continue being vigilant so we can fully reopen our campus and community."