539 days without fans at sporting events for New England College home athletics.
On September 1st, NEC’s fall sports teams will make their way back to home field (and court) as they start their journey towards a championship ring. But, this season, fans will finally be back in attendance.
With the “go-ahead” from Athletic Director, Dave Decew, along with school administration, spectators will be allowed to attend sporting events in person while following a few restrictions and precautionary measures.
Regarding outdoor sporting events, unvaccinated individuals must remain masked while in attendance. Indoor spectators should wear their masks regardless of their vaccination status. Indoor sporting events will limit in-person attendance at the beginning of the season to limit exposure of COVID-19.
“Not having fans in the gym diminished our motivation to finish the game… everything felt really repetitive,” said senior volleyball captain, Jaycie Kodama, when reflecting on the past year of play. But, not anymore. After an August 24th scrimmage, NEC Volleyball experienced a lively gym once again, with attendance nearing capacity.
Kodama continued, “fans being able to attend games again feels like everyone is beginning to feel a sense of normalcy. We feed off our fans energy.” Junior women’s soccer player, Felicia Glanberg, added, “the whole experience of a game will be better with fans.”
When asked what the athletics department plans to do to continue keeping student athletes safe and healthy, Decew stated, “we still have enhanced cleaning and sanitizing …and we will be playing institutions with similar safety mechanisms in place.”
At the conference and team level, athletes will be doing all they can to ensure that fans in attendance are also safe. Per New England Collegiate Conference’s social media accounts, “all student athletes that are not fully-vaccinated will be properly masked at all times while competing or participating in all events… and will be required to undergo weekly testing.”
Pilgrims begin their home seasons on September 1st.
Field Hockey 4 PM vs. Fitchburg
Men’s Soccer 7 PM vs. Plymouth
Volleyball 7 PM vs. Babson
*As stated by AD Decew, “Everything is subject to change. [The school] will monitor local and state recommendations along with CDC guidelines.”