KU will not host fans at any Kansas Athletics home games for the remainder of November, University of Kansas Chancellor Douglas Girod announced Tuesday.
These changes mean there will be no fans at the upcoming volleyball matches on Thursday and Friday, football games on Saturday and Nov. 28, and women’s basketball games on Nov. 25 and Nov. 29.
Girod said the decision was made after consulting with the University’s Pandemic Medical Advisory Team and other University leaders. He added that he will meet with them again regarding December athletics events, which include men’s basketball games.
“We know this is disappointing to those of you who planned to be on campus to root for the Jayhawks,” Girod said in a statement.“While we are not aware of any incidents of COVID-19 transmission at any home athletics competitions this year, the recent spike in cases and hospitalizations makes it unwise to host fans at this time.”
Kansas Athletics Director Jeff Long said in a statement Tuesday that although the University has been able to host crowds safely at multiple sporting venues this season, “we must do what is best for our community.”
"With basketball season beginning next week, we ask everyone to follow the recommendations of your local health authorities and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] so we can host a small crowd inside Allen Fieldhouse as we are planning on doing in December,” Long said.
Douglas County had at least 879 active cases of the coronavirus Tuesday, according to a dashboard from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health. Twenty people have died from the virus. And there have been 3,797 cases of COVID-19 in the county since the pandemic began.
Around Nov. 1, the 14-day moving average for positive COVID-19 cases started increasing, according to the dashboard. Douglas County’s coronavirus positivity rate is 13.4%.
Girod emphasized Kansas and its neighboring states are at a “tipping point” with a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and the next few weeks will be important to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus throughout the region.
“With this in mind, now is the time for each of us to renew our commitment to mitigation efforts, particularly with respect to mask-wearing and social distancing, which have served us well so far,” Girod said. “I implore each of us to commit to thinking not only about ourselves, but about the entire community, in every decision we make. The safety of our friends, families, colleagues, classmates and neighbors depends on it.”
In September, Girod announced that roughly 10,000 fans were allowed to attend football games at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, 19% of the stadium’s capacity. Other fall sports such as volleyball, soccer and cross country were able to hold fans at a capacity of 10% throughout the fall.
Douglas County prohibited mass gatherings beyond 15 people on Nov. 12, after an increase in coronavirus cases. County health officials encouraged people to “double down” on public health practices, particularly wearing a mask, to help flatten the curve.
“We believe this spike is due to people letting their guards down with lapses in mask wearing, attending social gatherings that allow for transmission of COVID-19, and people who are experiencing symptoms being out in public instead of self-isolating to reduce chances for exposing others,” said Dr. Thomas Marcellino, Douglas County’s Local Health Officer, in a previous statement.
Nicole Asbury contributed reporting.