How is UMass Amherst preparing for football tailgate amidst COVID restrictions?

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID cases at UMass have more than doubled in just one week, going from about 150 to 371.

On Saturday, UMass Football will take on Eastern Michigan. Meantime, the school announced on Thursday it will start reaching out to students and quote “particular residential areas or social groups” for additional testing, to better understand transmission. The latest COVID-19 data reported by UMass Amherst.

UMass Amherst students Steve Melanson and Cam Porter gave their statements on the matter:

Cam: We went to the townhouses and you couldn’t move.
Steve: That’s true.
Cam: And it was way worse there. Everyone’s calling it the townhouse cough.

When tailgating was limited last week, Steve and Cam said people took things elsewhere, the vast majority of COVID cases being students off-campus.

“It’s not as stressful or scary when you’re just around the residence halls and going through classes because the cases are smaller and like kids do wear their masks and kids do wash their hands,” said Matthew O’Connor, a sophomore at UMass.

With UMass once again hosting a home game, the school offered students this week the chance to reserve free parking passes for tailgating. For Saturday’s game, they will have to enter the lot within a 30-minute window about two hours before kick-off.

The school expressed concern for the recent jolt in numbers saying in part, “We are encouraging the community to test, and the number of tests this past week more than doubled to 8,836.”

“I got vaccinated. I was told I got the vaccine, I wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore yet we still have to which is fine I guess. I’m going to listen to what they’re going to tell me what to do but I don’t understand why there are restrictions,” said Jake Gauvin, a sophomore at UMass Amherst.

The positivity rate is at 4.2 percent, to put that in context, the entire state’s positivity rate is just 2.3 percent.

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