UMass to limit tailgating in Lot 11 to those with valid game-day parking passes for Saturday’s football game

The change is the result of an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases, according to UMass officials

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Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian

By Sofi Shlepakov, Assistant News Editor

The University of Massachusetts plans to limit tailgating activities in Lot 11 to those with valid, game-day parking passes for the home football game against Boston College this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 11.

The announcement came in an email from Co-Directors of the UMass Public Health Promotion Center Ann Becker and Jeffrey Hescock, sent to the UMass community on Thursday evening. It stated that an increase in positive cases “has been connected to indoor social activities, including visits to crowded downtown bars and attendance at parties.”

While the University does not have any rules against indoor student gatherings, “the safest place to gather is outdoors with limited contacts, and if you do get together indoors, you should do so wearing a mask,” wrote Becker and Hescock.

The risk of transmission outdoors if not social distancing, the email stated, is still significant. “It is with this risk in mind that the decision has been made to limit tailgating at this Saturday’s home football game only to those with valid game-day parking passes,” the email read.

The decision to cancel Saturday’s tailgate was solely decided by the University, according to a post on the UMass Student Government Alliance (SGA) Instagram page. “We share your frustration and disappointment and are working with administrators to find a safe solution to bring back tailgates,” SGA President Prahbu Rajkumar and Vice President Ben Katzman said in an Instagram post.

Thursday also saw an update to the University’s COVID-19 dashboard. For the week of Sept. 1-7, the dashboard shows a total of 149 positive cases across on-campus students, off-campus students, faculty and staff.

A total of 3,863 tests have been performed in the weeklong period; A positivity rate of 3.86 percent has been deduced from testing.

The vaccination rate at UMass between students, faculty and staff is 96.52 percent.

“In a near-fully vaccinated population such as ours, positive tests results are predominantly breakthrough cases,” the email read.

“While in our planning process we anticipated case numbers in the range we are seeing this week and have prepared for it, we nonetheless are concerned about any increase in cases.”

Students are encouraged to check COVID-19 symptoms daily. The University is offering asymptomatic and symptomatic unobserved testing around campus, along with testing by appointment at University Health Services.

Sofi Shlepakov can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @SShlepakov.