Ivy League venue spectator safety rules as the conference season approaches

As the omicron variant has resulted in a large increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the United States, many businesses and institutions, including several Ivy League athletic departments, have been revisiting their safety policies.

With the start of league play a few days away, Ivy Hoops Online is listing information regarding each team.  To get the most detailed and up-to-date information, including what is an acceptable mask, it is recommended to check the links for each institution’s main COVID-19 page.  If there are any questions, fans are encouraged to contact the individual universities or athletic departments.

COVID-19 Main Pages: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale
COVID-19 Visitors Pages: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale
Athletic Departments: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton, Yale

With respect to COVID’s potential effects on conference games, Meghan Moore, Ivy League associate executive director of communications & championships, informed IHO that “The league is committed to rescheduling all games that are postponed due to COVID. It has multiple layers of policy in place to support this season.”

“These have been longstanding protocols that apply to all sports throughout the league. Over the course of the pandemic, the Athletics Directors have made very few subtle changes to modernize the policies and unanimously supported the adjustments,” Moore added in response to follow-up questions about the policy. “Regarding testing, isolation and quarantine, each program follows its institutional protocols. Each team is asked to have seven players able to compete and if a game needs to be rescheduled, it will be a discussion between the two schools in collaboration with the league office. Any game that cannot be rescheduled will be deemed a “no contest.””

Brown – Pizzitola Sports Center

Throughout the fall and into the beginning of the winter, Brown Athletics has not posted any links or articles about safety information on its main, general news, visitor’s guide or facilities pages.

Without any information from the department, fans should check out the university’s Athletics & Recreation, Visitors & Guests, Visitor and Guest Vaccination Requirement FAQ, and COVID-19 Campus Safety Policy pages to find out guidelines for people whom the school categorizes as “limited-duration” visitors.

Columbia – Levien Gymnasium

The department’s Fall & Winter Sport Venue and Spectator Policies page was sent out on Nov. 4 and an update to fan attendance was posted on Wednesday.

In the original policy, fans 12 and older needed to present proof of vaccination through the NYC COVID Safe App, Excelsior Pass, CDC Vaccination Card (or photo), NYC Vaccination Record or an official immunization record from outside NYC or the US.  No proof of vaccination is needed for fans under 12.

All visitors were to wear a mask and capacity was limited to 70% of the arena.

According to the Dec. 29 Temporary No-Spectator Policy, which lasts through Jan. 18, attendance to home events “shall be limited to participating players, coaches, and officials, as well as athletics administrators and essential personnel required to conduct an NCAA Division I contest.”

Cornell – Newman Arena

Cornell updated its “Know Before You Go!” safety page on December 27.  Prior to the change, all fans 12 and older were required to show “proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19 with an FDA- or WHO-authorized vaccine (Excelsior Pass encouraged, but photo, screenshot or copy of vaccination card are acceptable)” or provide “results of a negative FDA- or DOH-authorized PCR, rapid PCR, or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) COVID-19 test collected within 72 hours of the event start.”  Starting Wednesday, these visitors can also provide results from “an FDA-authorized antigen test performed on a specimen collected within six hours of the event start.” 

Patrons younger than 12 are still not required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result, however, all patrons must wear a mask that covers the mouth and nose.  In addition, concessions will still not be sold at events.

Dartmouth – Leede Arena

On Dec. 22, Dartmouth Athletics announced it would be restricting fan attendance at events for the beginning of 2022.

The changes, which will last until Jan. 18, or “as long as campus restrictions are in place” will include a restriction of attendance by the general public but an allowance for a limited number of guests of the student-athletes and coaches based upon the venue, engineering review, occupancy limits and the College COVID team.  Anyone five and older, who is able to attend, must show proof of full vaccination or negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 72 hours of the event before entry.

Harvard – Lavietes Pavilion

Harvard Athletics announced a new Indoor Spectator Policy for January Term on Tuesday.  Similar to Dartmouth, the Crimson will be restricting fan attendance for the first few weeks of the new year.

According to the changes, which go in effect through Jan. 23, evens will not be open to the general public.  In venues that have been approved for spectators, a limited number of guests of the student-athletes and coaches will be allowed on a pass list with the exact number of guests determined based on Harvard University venue policies. 

The limited number of attendees, 12 years of age and older, allowed at indoor events will need to show proof of vaccination by showing one’s vaccine card, a photo of one’s card or a digital vaccine record is required. The vaccine card must show two dates for Moderna/Pfizer and one date for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Negative COVID-19 tests are no longer sufficient for entry.

There were no updates to the visitors under the age of 12, who were not required to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test prior to the change.  All attendees are required to wear masks and there will be no available concessions during the restriction period.

Penn – The Palestra

On December 30, Penn Athletics closed athletic events to the public effective immediately.

Princeton – Jadwin Gymnasium

Princeton Athletics updated its Know Before You Go! page on Dec. 21, with changes to parking and concessions.  At this time, food and drink will not be sold and cannot be brought into indoor events.

Fans 12 and over must be fully vaccinated (two weeks after 2nd dose of a two-dose vaccine or single-dose vaccine) with no exceptions.  Children under the age of 12, who are unable to be vaccinated at this time, can still attend.  All fans over the age of 2 are required to wear masks, but those 2 and younger are exempt.

Yale – John J. Lee Amphitheater

On October 14, Yale announced its Indoor Winter Sports Policy and followed that with an update banning fan attendance through Jan. 6.  

According to the main policy, only fans 12 and older who can provide roof of vaccination (actual card or photo) and a photo ID can be admitted.  Children 11 and younger are not allowed to attend.

Masks must be worn at all times by all attendees.  Outside food and drink will not be allowed and there will be no in-venue concessions available.

Note: This post has been updated to include quotes from Meghan Moore of the Ivy League, as well as recent attendance policy changes at Penn and Yale.

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