After over a year of spectators not being able to attend sporting events, there is a new sense of normalcy these days as Castleton University students can once again attend sport contests.
“The decision was changed two weeks ago, when all the presidents from each school said it should be up to each institution whether they should have fans or not,” said Athletic Director Deanna Tyson.
Students who have their passport filled out with four stamps can attend games by showing it before entering and may be asked to show the passport at anytime while watching a game.
The Little East Conference was dictating previously that teams that play in the conference were not allowed to have fans at games for safety reasons.
Once the presidents from each school voted to let the schools decide whether spectators were allowed, it was decided that at Castleton it was safe for students to attend games.
“I was pushing for the students,” Tyson said.
While this is a step toward getting back to normal, the question was why aren’t nonstudents still not allowed to attend games?
“Unfortunately, to let community members and parents onto our campus was not going to happen because we couldn’t verify if those people were being tested regularly like our students,” Tyson explained.
The state of Vermont still has guidelines in place that reduce the number of outside visitors to college campuses in the state.
“We were happy to support spectators, but we could not do it in a way that would encourage visitors to the campus to comply with state guidelines,” COVID Project Manager Kathy Letendre said.
Other schools in the conference like Eastern Connecticut are allowing parents to games, but mask and social distancing is still a priority.
The women’s volleyball team competed at Eastern Connecticut last Friday and that was the first time players had their parents in the stands watching them play in person since the pandemic began.
Tyson is glad athletes have support in real time and that she does not have to tell students to leave an athletic contest.
“It’s been tough, with other athletes not being able to go cheer on other athletes,” Tyson said. “The worst thing in the world for me is to tell students they couldn’t be at an athletic event.”
Outfielder Evan Keegan is excited to get some energy back at baseball games from fans after hearing the decision from the conference.
“We have been missing the energy that fans provide for over a year now,” said Keegan, a junior from Malone, New York. “It is awesome to finally see that on its way back into the game.”
The next question is what is the fall is going to look like for spectators?
“We are hoping everything is going to be back to normal in the fall … so parents can be on our campus,” Tyson said.
Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Sophie Zdatny sent an email out to students on April 27 saying they have not decided if they are going to require vaccinations for on campus students next fall.
“Until that decision is made, we aren’t even going to talk about it until we get closer,” Tyson said.
All sporting events are still being streamed at castletonsports.com so anyone can still support Spartan athletes from a far.