The Coronavirus pandemic has been a drastically long and overwhelming rollercoaster of up and downs, to say the least.
When vaccinations started to rollout at the beginning of the year, fans, parents and athletes hoped that they would be able to play sports or watch a sport in a safe manner once again.
In early March, the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) announced that they would not be allowing its institutions to have fans at games under any circumstances.
But as of March 24, CSAC announced that it will allow its member institutions to dictate and monitor a spectator policy at their respective venues. When institutions allow spectators, they are required to follow staffing and occupancy guidelines along with local and state guidelines in order to protect the safety of the fans and the student athletes.
For Wilson, this means that at outdoor athletic events, fans of home teams will be allowed to have fans, but visitor fans, such as spectators and students from the opposing team, will not be allowed. Sports such as baseball, softball, soccer and lacrosse are permitted to have fans, since their events take place outdoors, but sports such as men’s and women’s volleyball are not accessible to fans yet, according to Wilson’s policy.
In reference to CSAC’s decision, athletic director Tina Hill said, “We’re thrilled! We look forward to the day that we can open our venues to allow any spectators and at full capacity. It’s a step in the right direction to return to ‘normal’. We also very much respect CSAC members that have chosen to remain closed to spectators. Having the opportunity to view contests online, while different from attending in person, it provides a great alternative.”
According to the recent released statement, all CSAC member institutions must follow certain guidelines. These guidelines are that all spectators must always follow institutional health and safety guidelines while in attendance, all spectators must always wear masks and practice appropriate social distancing while in attendance, spectators from visiting institutions are not permitted to attend athletic competitions until further notice and failure to comply with the institutional spectator policy will result in removal from the site of competition.
“We need everyone’s help to be successful,” Hill said. “Wash hands frequently, wear a mask properly and maintain social distancing from those not in your household. Since opening to spectators, we now are having to regularly remind fans (and participants) to follow these guidelines to help reduce the spread. Without everyone’s cooperation, we will need to reverse course, and prohibit fans from attending.”
As far as home athletic events go, softball and baseball have been the only teams to have a home slate so far with fans in attendance. For these two sports, fan attendance has been in high demand due in part to the nice weather. So far, fans have been doing their part in wearing masks and social distancing on most occasions when possible.
Said Hill, “We are increasing signage at our venues, adding public address announcements, and physically talking with spectators, asking for their cooperation. For the most part, our fans have been respectful, but we need to remain vigilant.”
With the semester coming to a close in a few weeks and the weather starting to get nicer, fan attendance is likely to increase, with the hopes that social distancing and the wearing of masks will continue. Let’s continue to do our part by wearing masks and social distancing to prevent the spread!