Over the past several months, the Atlantic East Conference and member institutions have worked tirelessly to formulate resocialization plans for the return of intercollegiate athletics to our campuses. The health and safety of its member institutions' communities and overall well-being of our student-athletes are top priorities.
After months of careful consideration regarding possible options for safely engaging in athletics this spring, the Atlantic East Conference Presidents' Council and athletic administrators have come to the decision to cancel conference competition in fall and winter sports during the spring 2021 semester with the exception of a possible swimming championship due to its low-risk exposure category and the possibility to run the championship virtually.
The conference office and institutional leaders have agreed upon allowing institutional autonomy to schedule competition at their discretion. Activities are not limited by the conference, and may include practices, strength and conditioning, inter-squad events, and intercollegiate contests where safe to do so.
Division III previously announced that all Division III student-athletes are able to participate in athletics during this academic year without being charged a season of participation or semester of eligibility. The blanket waiver allows student-athletes to compete up to the established dates of competition/contest maximums without being charged a season of intercollegiate participation or a term of attendance for any term during the 2020-2021 academic year in which they are eligible for competition.
In preparation for future competition, enrolled student-athletes may be permitted to participate in practice, conditioning and other athletic training opportunities in the spring, provided they are structured in accordance with federal, state, and local public health recommendations, the NCAA, and institutional guidelines. Any questions can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following continued conversation to prioritize the health and safety of Atlantic East Conference student-athletes, the Presidents Council and athletics administrators have decided to place the highest priority on plans to move forward with the safe conduct of a regular season schedule and conference championship for sports with a spring NCAA championship. Those sports include baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field, in addition to a modified men’s and women’s swimming championship.
The Presidents Council approved a proposal from the athletics administration to begin spring sports competition on or after March 1, 2021. Each spring sport will have the opportunity to engage in competition against non-league opponents in the spring sports prior to the start of conference games. All non-conference competition must end seven days prior to conference competition beginning. Once conference competition has begun, no non-conference competition will be allowed.
The approved spring sport schedule will allow for one week of make-up games at the end of the conference schedule, as needed. Additionally, the Council approved that there will be no fans at any competition this spring with the exception of senior day games.
These measures ensure the safety of the University community at Marywood, and the campus will remain closed to outside visitors through the entirety of the 2021 spring semester. Furthermore, to protect the safety of our student athletes, athletic staff, and our broader campus communities, the President's Council of the Atlantic East Conference approved a fan restriction at all practices and games this spring, except for allowing two (2) family members of senior athletes to attend designated Senior Day games. The Athletic Directors support this decision.
Given that our conference covers three states and countless cities, towns and boroughs – all with different COVID-19 restrictions and risks – the Presidents and Athletic Directors feel that unified and consistent measures are important for protecting the safety of student athletes, coaches, staff and university communities at large. Family and friends of student athletes should refrain from coming to campus to watch games. Marywood’s Office of Campus Safety will strictly enforce this policy.
While this decision is disappointing to our loyal fans, we plan to live stream as many home athletic contests as possible at www.marywoodpacers.com.
The Office of Student Engagement will continue to offer a variety of activities, balancing students’ safety with their need for socialization, entertainment, connection, and leadership development. Virtual events will be offered in addition to limited in-person activities that allow for adherence to physical distancing and all other guidelines. Face coverings are required at all events, and a minimum six-foot physical distance must be maintained. In-person activities will only be held if all guidelines are able to be followed for the duration of the event. Students not adhering to guidelines will not be permitted to attend or participate in events. Additional requirements will be determined on a case-by-case basis dependent upon the nature of the event.
In-person activities may include:
- Grab and Go events – such as giveaways of free food, t-shirts, or other items; themed art nights, with students picking up supplies and then participating from their residence halls/homes; scavenger hunts
- Outdoor events – such as drive-in movies, drive-thru meals, car washes, outdoor fitness classes/sports events, mini golf, laser tag, etc.
- Indoor events with restricted capacity that students must sign up for or reserve a timeslot to attend – such as performances, workshops, contests/competitions, DIY events, and holiday/seasonal celebrations
Off-campus trips may be offered, depending on the status of our state and county at the time of the trip, as well as the status of the county to which we are travelling. Trip destinations will only be considered if they are permitted to be in operation by the appropriate authority, with preference given to outdoor attractions (zoos, state parks, etc.). Additional restrictions, such as reserved seating, 50 percent capacity on buses, and temperature declaration/health screenings will be required in order to make trips possible and safe.
Out-of-state trips will not take place during the 2020-2021 school year.
Sunday Mass will be held in the Marian Chapel according to the guidelines of the Diocese of Scranton. We will ensure that those in attendance practice physical distancing, wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and there will be no singing. Options for Sunday Mass online will be made available.
Faith and spirituality programs, such as Bible Study, Delight, Agape Latte, and other small groups will meet with those in attendance practicing physical distancing, wearing masks, using hand sanitizer, etc. Larger groups will meet using Zoom or Google Meet.
Local service activities will continue but will adjust to new circumstances and new needs. All health and safety precautions will be taken.