Last month, we made the decision to begin our fall athletics season without fans in attendance. This included our first home football game against Coastal Carolina and all volleyball, soccer and cross-country events through September.
Today I am writing to let you know we will begin allowing fans to attend Kansas Athletics competitions, starting with the October 3 football game against Oklahoma State, with attendance limits and robust health and safety protocols in place.
For next weekend’s football game, we will host approximately 10,000 fans in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, which represents about 19 percent of the stadium’s capacity. Key health and safety protocols include the following:
- Masks will be required at all times.
- All stadium seating will be reserved seating to ensure proper social distancing.
- There will be contact-less entry through metal detectors for fans.
- Shuttle buses will operate at a reduced capacity.
- Seating has been reconfigured in suites and the press box.
- Elevators will also be limited to five individuals at a time.
- Hand-washing stations and Plexiglass barriers have been installed in the stadium.
- Law enforcement officers will monitor neighborhoods surrounding the stadium.
- Tailgating will not be permitted on campus.
Our requirements regarding mask usage and reserved stadium seating will be strictly enforced, and fans will be removed from the stadium if they do not comply with these important infection prevention protocols. Additional details are available on Kansas Athletics’ COVID-19 Fan Information webpage.
The decision to host fans is based on a number of factors. First, regional COVID-19 rates remain stable and in line with what we are prepared to manage. Additionally, by not hosting fans for our Sept. 12 game, we gave ourselves an additional month to learn from other universities and professional sports organizations that have been hosting competitions.
I want to emphasize that the decision to host fans is fluid and can change at any time, including before the next football game. In partnership with local health officials, we will do a full debrief after the game and make adjustments as needed. Certainly it is our hope to continue hosting fans throughout the fall, but these decisions will be made in an ongoing way based on the latest information, and always at the guidance of the Pandemic Medical Advisory Team.
I want to thank the university staff, the Kansas Athletics staff, and our health and safety partners across the region who have worked tirelessly to develop health and safety protocols for upcoming events. Athletics competitions are integral to campus life, to our national recruitment efforts, and to the local economy. Additionally, the opportunity to compete in front of fans is important to our student-athletes, who have demonstrated tremendous resilience amid all this uncertainty. I know I can count on you to support these remarkable young women and men throughout the year.
Again, thanks to each of you – faculty, staff and students – for all you are doing to help us continue our mission of education, service and research while prioritizing health and safety.
Douglas A. Girod