Two local colleges are taking completely different approaches to tackle the latest surge in Covid-19 Omicron cases.
Virginia Union University has decided that the risk to their students and fans is too great and has closed all basketball games to spectators. On January 3, they made the following statement.
Virginia Union University Athletics has announced that a new “No Fan/Spectator” policy will apply to the men’s and women’s basketball games at Barco-Stevens Hall until further notice.
The safety of student-athletes and campus is the main concern and reason for the temporary policy. The university is committed to implementing and enforcing a range of measures to help promote the health and well-being of students, staff and campus visitors, and to help reduce the risk of potential exposure and spread of COVID-19.
Only essential personnel will be admitted to Barco-Stevens Hall, including participating team members, coaches, officials, athletic trainers, judges and administrative staff.
Virginia Commonwealth University, on the other hand, continued to admit fans, but stayed loosely enforced mask mandate.
VCU has decided to widen the difference between the two programs by organizing a “Diaper Derby”. In case you’re unfamiliar, a diaper derby involves letting young children crawl a certain distance and the winner receives a prize, in this case $529 for school. The twist is that the Covid vaccination is not currently available for those under 5, so none of the babies will be vaccinated.
January 12, CNN reported on the increase in Covid cases among children.
Covid-19 hospitalizations among children are soaring in the United States, with an average of 4.3 children under 5 per 100,000 hospitalized with an infection as of the week ending January 1, compared to 2 .6 children the week before, according to data from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
This represents a 48% increase from the week ending December 4, and the largest increase in hospital admissions in this age group over the course of the pandemic.
“For our youngest children, those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, it is critical that we surround them with people who have been vaccinated to give them protection,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky Friday.
here’s what VCU Athletics tweeted out last night.
The Derby is back ! The Virginia 529 Diaper Derby will take place on February 5 at the men’s basketball game. Register your baby via the link below and have a chance to be selected to crawl over the hardwood.
🍼 https://t.co/DDSsusMuLU pic.twitter.com/r58slAkd9r
— VCU Athletics (@VCUAthletics) January 20, 2022
The fact that college athletics is happening at all is a debate for another time.