Georgetown University announced Tuesday that it is canceling its fall homecoming festivities ‘out of an abundance of caution’ due to the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19. To my alma mater I say: trust the science — give us back our homecoming.
A college campus, particularly Georgetown, is one of the safest places in the country to be if you are worried about the pandemic. Students, faculty and staff were required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine before they were allowed to step on campus this fall. The data tells us that the vast majority of hospitalizations and nearly every death from the coronavirus is among the unvaccinated. The vaccines are widely available, and the campus community is protected, so if an unvaccinated person chooses to risk their health and attend homecoming, why shouldn’t they be able to do so? That’s not to mention that most of the people who are participating in the homecoming rallies are current students and young alumni. They are within the age groups least likely to suffer serious side effects from the virus.
I’ve attended at least half a dozen homecomings since becoming a Hoya, and although some of the parties do get crowded, they mostly take place outside. The ever-popular pep rally takes place on a hillside next to the football field and has always given students their own reusable plastic cups for the beer kegs. Another popular spot is the wide open rooftop at the Village A apartments. Sounds COVID-friendly to me!
The cynic in me thinks that there may be other reasons Georgetown is foregoing their annual homecoming celebration. They’ll certainly save a lot of money and manpower, and I’m sure the crotchety neighbors in their multi-million dollar row houses will be thrilled to avoid the usual foot traffic from the event. The pandemic certainly is a convenient excuse to save the university the trouble. Why else would they be so blatantly ignoring science?
I truly feel badly for the students of the university who will have to miss out on this fun university tradition for yet another year. They already had to settle for a year of virtual learning while paying full tuition minus room and board. Now that they’ve been vaccinated and are back on campus, shouldn’t they be able to participate in the events that make their college years so special?
If Chicago can host Lollapalooza with more than 385,000 attendees, without incident, then I think Georgetown, with a undergrad student body of about 7,500 and plenty of outdoor space, can host its homecoming.