By Luke Mich, Sports Editor
Before the majority of students arrived back on campus for the start of the spring semester, Saint Vincent College announced that spectators were not allowed to attend the upcoming slate of indoor sporting events at the school. The announcement came on Jan. 7, and the revised athletic spectator policy was put in effect Jan. 10 and applied to all events through the first week of school. These events included multiple men’s and women’s basketball games, as well as a swim meet for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Dr. Jeff Mallory, executive vice president and chief operating officer, explained why the policy was adapted.
“Ensuring the safe and healthy return of all members to the college community and our requirement for testing upon returning was a main focus of the initial week,” Mallory said.
“We were also very aware of the surge in positive cases. With testing, analyzing the results and the need to fully understand any other unique elements with the start of the semester, the leadership of the college collectively agreed it was beneficial to initiate (this) policy.”
On Jan. 14, the school extended the policy through Jan. 22, and the policy is subject for a possible extension again as the rate of COVID-19 cases in the Western Pennsylvania region continues to rise. As of Jan. 23, three men’s basketball games, two women’s basketball games, two swim meets and two men’s volleyball games have been played without spectators within this two-week span.
The decision whether the policy will be extended is to be determined, yet Mallory is hopeful it will not be extended or re-instated.
“Updates on the spectator policy [will be] publicized via the Athletics Department and their various media outlets.”
Whether or not the spectator policy will be enforced for outdoor events has yet to be determined; however, a possibility remains that the policy will extend to them.
“The need to consider [the policy] would be based on the conditions of the school and society and feedback from our student-athletes and coaches,” Mallory stated.
If the school lifts or does not extend the current athletic spectator policy for indoor events, then the first indoor sporting event to have spectators this semester will be on Sunday, Jan. 30, as the men’s volleyball team plays against Elizabethtown at 12 p.m. and against John Jay at 4 p.m.