FEB. 5: Dr. McPhee gives update on in-person extracurricular activities

As we conclude the second week of the Spring 2021 semester, I want to thank our university community for continuing to adhere to our COVID-19 mitigation efforts. While we are encouraged that the virus is trending downward in Tennessee (the state is down 55% in COVID-19 hospitalizations from its peak less than a month ago), it is imperative that we remain vigilant and abide by the requirements outlined in our Return to Campus Playbooks for students and faculty/staff.

My thanks as well to our community for suspending in-person extracurricular activities for the first two weeks of the semester. Starting Monday, we will allow such activities to resume, as long as participants remain masked, practice social distancing, be limited to no more than 50 attending and, if inside, observe posted COVID-19 capacity limits. We will also allow MT Dining patrons to eat inside our on-campus facilities at one person per table and as long as they adhere to social distancing requirements posted in the spaces.

And, starting today, we are allowing a limited number of fans to attend our indoor Athletics events. The capacity of Murphy Center for men’s and women’s basketball games will be limited to 10 percent, and will include only season ticket holders and MTSU students. Masks must be worn at all times and seating will be socially distanced. Other indoor sports that will now be open to limited fan attendance include men's and women's tennis at the Adams Tennis Complex, and volleyball matches at Alumni Memorial Gymnasium.

A reminder that we require masks be worn in all campus buildings and are strongly recommended for wearing while outdoors – especially if you cannot maintain social distancing. If you need a mask, you can pick one up for free at the MT One Stop desk on the second floor of the Student Services and Admissions Center and at the Campus Life Desk (main lobby desk) on the first floor of the Student Union Building. We have personal-sized bottles of hand sanitizer available there as well. The masks and hand sanitizer are available while supplies last.

Make careful choices regarding your safety and the safety of others. Activities that might have been routine in pre-pandemic days, such as gathering to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, should be approached with appropriate cautions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gathering virtually or with the people you live with is the safest way to celebrate the Super Bowl – and outdoor gatherings are safer than indoors. While there are emerging signs of optimism, including the slowly increasing pace of vaccination, there is still great need for us all to remain vigilant in efforts to combat COVID-19.

Sidney A. McPhee