With COVID-19 rates climbing back up, Morehouse College had to make an unfortunate decision on the future of next month’s homecoming. Get the official statement from Morehouse’s 12th and current president David A. Thomas, Ph. D. below.
Homecoming at Morehouse is a special time for our community— especially alumni, who renew their bonds of brotherhood by reconnecting in person with each other and by meeting current students. There also is no doubt that the event holds special meaning for our sisters at Bennett College and Spelman College, along with other supporters from all over the world. Unfortunately, because of the escalating spread of the COVID-19 virus in Georgia, the Homecoming festivities scheduled for the week of October 10-17, 2021, including the traditional tailgating, have been canceled and will not be rescheduled. The October 16 football game against Fort Valley State University will be played as scheduled without the Homecoming designation and the number of tickets available to the public will be reduced to allow for physical social distancing in B.T. Harvey Stadium.
As you may know, Morehouse College has worked diligently to create a safe learning and living environment, even as the COVID-19 Delta variant has spread throughout the state and the nation. Through mandatory vaccination policies with limited exemptions, aggressive masking requirements, social distancing, and robust symptom tracking, Morehouse has been able to mitigate the spread on our campus. The near 100% rate of students and employees who have met our vaccination requirement, along with frequent testing and monitoring, has allowed the College to create a relatively closed campus environment where the vaccination and COVID positivity status of each student and employee is known.
Unfortunately, this week, Georgia broke a record for COVID-19 hospitalizations. The state has the sixth-highest per capita infection rate in the nation and an unprecedented number of young people have become ill with the virus. Given the circumstances, a massive in-person gathering on our campus presents a public health risk to our students which is impossible to ignore. Keeping our students safe is our top priority.
In order to fulfill our commitment to maintain a safe campus environment for our students, Homecoming 2021 will be replaced with a student-only fall festival. Access to campus on October 16 will be limited to students and employees at Morehouse and other Atlanta University Center Consortium institutions, game ticket holders, and pre-designated visitors.
We would like to thank the many students and alumni who have provided feedback as we made this difficult decision, which balances the understandable desire of our community to gather together with our need to protect our students’ safety. If each of us does our part to protect one another by getting vaccinated and following other public health guidelines, we will see each other soon.