At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where students are being tested twice a week, there have been more than 1,000 positive cases since mid-August.
"The irresponsible and, I might add, dangerous actions of a small number of our students has created the very real possibility of ending an in-person semester for all of us here at Illinois," Chancellor Robert Jones said.
Following a spike in cases, Jones said the university has disciplined over 100 students and two have been suspended.
"We believe taking swift action to identify and remove students who refuse to follow our safety guideline is the right decision," Jones said.
Officials said students have been going to parties while knowingly COVID positive, avoiding contract tracers and trying to beat the app that uses negative test results for access to campus buildings.
With colleges seen as hot spots, students who have tested positive are being told not to leave campus to return to their home towns.
While COVID plans vary on every college campus, planning also involves what to do if there is a major outbreak. The nation's top health officials are urging colleges and universities not to send students home.
"If you send them home to a multi-generational household, you may unintentionally create spreading events in the hometown community," said Dr. Deborah Birx, White House Coronavirus Task Force.
Governor JB Pritzker agreed, saying: "...That they not just not send somebody who may be sick directly back home, but rather do everything that they can to help them while on campus, to keep them on campus and to provide them with a place to isolate."