Saint Mary’s has revealed the new attendance policy for indoor sporting events.
By Ryan Ford
With the volleyball season underway, and the basketball season right around the corner, Saint Mary’s has announced that anyone over the age of 12 who plans on attending indoor sporting events on campus will have to provide proof of vaccination, or a negative test for COVID-19. This comes after the recently updated Contra Costa Public Health Order. Per Contra Costa Health Services, these protocols apply to any “high risk indoor businesses.” Workers at these businesses must be vaccinated or tested weekly, effective November 1, 2021.
Requiring proof of vaccination shouldn’t be an issue for a majority of SMC students. According to Saint Mary’s COVID-19 Information and Resources web page, 97% of undergraduates have received covid vaccines. At the time of writing this article, there have been 22 documented cases of coronavirus among the student body so far this semester.
In other words, goodbye to the cardboard cutouts that filled the stands of UCU Pavilion. Last year, students and fans were unable to attend any of the Gaels’ indoor sporting events, so this announcement is welcome news for anyone interested in supporting our athletic teams this season. Senior and Gael Force member Moises Gonzalez gave his perspective when asked about this recent announcement, “Living on-campus last year, there really wasn’t much to do, so the idea of being in the crowd at games again from a community aspect is really exciting.”
While Contra Costa County is allowing unvaccinated fans to attend these events as long as they have a negative test, vaccination is required in order to attend indoor sporting events in San Francisco, starting October 13. This will apply to not only fans, but coaches and players as well.
The vaccination status of any SMC student is not public knowledge, including our student athletes. But whether or not unvaccinated players will be allowed to participate in games played in San Francisco, where the Gaels face off against conference rival USF at least once a season, remains to be determined. This dilemma has been dominating storylines in the NBA, as many high-profile players have been making headlines in recent weeks for being unvaccinated.
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins turned heads this past Monday when he stated to the press that he will remain unvaccinated, despite the ramifications. Since the Warriors play their home games in San Francisco, Wiggins’ decision would result in him missing all home games for the 2021-22 NBA season, which constitutes half of the Warriors scheduled regular season games. The NBA has denied his request for religious exemption, per NBA.com.
There is no indication that Contra Costa will enforce the same restrictions anytime soon, but it is certainly a storyline to keep an eye on. In the meantime, UCU Pavilion figures to be as loud as ever with SMC’s passionate fans allowed back in the bleachers.