UMass Amherst COVID cases jump, football tailgating limited | News


AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — Students at UMass Amherst are upset with the university’s decision to limit tailgating at this weekend’s football game.

This comes as school officials report a large jump in COVID-19 breakthrough cases.

“Me and my roommates were really excited,” UMass Amherst junior Grace Grinnell said.

The first tailgate of the season ahead of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen football home opener will be limited due to rising cases of COVID-19.

This leaving many students, who are excited to be on campus after 18 months of interrupted activities disappointed.

“I was excited first full week back as students and were not allowed to go to the football game and tailgate beforehand, which I think is really exciting to be able to have the whole student body together and cheer on the team,” UMass Amherst senior Libbiey Mitchel said.

On Thursday, school officials announced tailgating will be restricted to those with valid game-day parking passes.

In addition, student game-day activities in lot 11 next to the McGuirk Stadium on Saturday will be canceled.

This all in an effort to minimize the density of students gathering before kick-off.

“I’m really not surprised which kind of stinks, but what can you do?” Grinnell said.

The university updates its COVID-19 dashboard every Thursday, which includes current vaccination rates and cases.

This week officials report 19 students tested positive for the virus on campus, 127 students off-campus, and three staff members.

Making this a total of 149 cases among a population of 96 percent vaccinated individuals, which means a significant number of breakthrough cases.

School officials said in part-quote, “The uptick in cases is predominantly among off-campus students and has been connected to indoor social activities, including visits to crowded downtown bars and attendance at parties.

While the university is taking precautions to mitigate any further spread during Saturday’s tailgate students would have preferred to follow an outdoor mask mandate.

“We’re outside so might as well enjoy the weather while we can,” Mitchel added.

School officials said the tailgate decision applies only to this week, and they will reevaluate for future games.

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