COVID-19 concerns cause tweaks in local university homecoming events

The arrival of autumn weather typically brings with it homecoming weekends for university alumni — for the second year in a row, the COVID-19 pandemic is prompting changes for schools in the region.

Howard University announced Friday it would be holding a “hybrid homecoming” this year: “While we planned for a fully in-person Homecoming, we must remain vigilant to the changing health conditions due to COVID-19,” the school said in an email to the university community.

The homecoming football game, on Saturday, Oct. 23, in Greene Stadium against Norfolk State University, will be played with fans in attendance, however, other popular gatherings would be too risky, according to the statement: “This means that tailgate and yard fest, among other in-person events will not take place.”

Georgetown University has canceled its in-person homecoming celebrations for the second straight year.

“We have made the difficult decision to forego Homecoming Weekend this fall. Please know we remain committed to engaging and celebrating you and our alumni,” a statement to the university community said.

George Washington University’s alumni and family weekend is still scheduled for Oct. 1 through Oct. 3, according to a school spokeswoman.

University of Maryland’s Alumni Association webpage lists a Homecoming Tailgate and Beer Garden, Saturday afternoon, Oct. 30.

“Our Homecoming tailgate is just the fun you need before cheering on your Terps at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium.”

American University’s Family Week, set for Sept. 29 through Oct. 6, is moving ahead, with no current changes of schedule.

“We continue to plan a mix of virtual and in-person events in accordance with our health and safety protocols,” according to university spokesperson Natasha Abel.

The Catholic University of America’s website says the health of the community is its top priority, as the pandemic continues to evolve: “We are preparing for the best, and we thank you in advance if we need to impose any restrictions — or cancel the event entirely — for the safety of our community.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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