Emerson cancels all athletics for a week as positive COVID-19 tests rise on campus

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Photo: Courtesy of Emerson Athletics

Baseball is one of the four spring sports affected by the cancellation.

By Christopher Williams, Sports Editor

All athletics games and practices are canceled for at least the next week, as Emerson imposes new restrictions to limit the number of positive COVID-19 tests on campus, college officials announced in a Wednesday afternoon email.

All in-person student activities and gatherings, including athletics, whether they are indoors or outdoors, will be prohibited for at least the next seven days, effective 5:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 7 through the end of the day Wednesday, April 14,” Assistant Vice President for Campus Life and “COVID Lead” Erik Muurisepp said in the email.

Muurisepp’s email marks the second consecutive week that all sports activities have been canceled following a spike in positive coronavirus tests on campus. The college canceled all games and practices last Friday after seven positive tests—a number which has now more than quintupled—were reported on campus. An unnamed member of an athletics team said the spread began with members of the women’s basketball team and affected other teams.

Muurisepp’s email accounts for the possibility that the new on-campus regulations will have to be extended if the number of people testing positive does not slow down—in which case the ban on athletic activity would likely continue. 

The college reported 36 positive COVID-19 tests over the past week, the highest number between the fall and spring semesters. As of Wednesday night, 24 students are in isolation and 34 students are in quarantine—all on campus. Emerson does not include the number of students in off campus isolation or quarantine in its COVID-19 dashboard. 

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The announcement comes two days after the college canceled all seasons for non-competing sports at the recommendation of the Boston Public Health Commission. Athletic Director Patricia Nicol attributed BPHC’s recommendation to the rise in positive COVID-19 test results on campus and throughout the city. 

It also comes one day after the women’s lacrosse game against Springfield College scheduled for April 10 was canceled “due to COVID-19 protocols,”—the second consecutive women’s lacrosse game to be canceled for such reasons. It is unclear whether members of either team tested positive for the coronavirus, and the statement did not outline which COVID-19 protocols led to the cancellation.

The teams impacted by the cancellation are baseball, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, and softball. The baseball and softball teams have a scheduled bye week this weekend, so their game schedules are not affected by the decision—only their practices are canceled. Both teams will play Worcester Polytechnic Institute in doubleheaders on April 17.

The men’s lacrosse team was scheduled to host Springfield at Rotch Field on Saturday, but its next game will now be at Babson College on April 17. Women’s lacrosse will host Babson that same day.

It is unclear whether the canceled games will be rescheduled later in the season.

Students will be permitted to leave their residences to participate in individual outdoor exercise as long as it is socially distanced, according to the statement.

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