Smith Center resumes fall sports schedule with no capacity limits

Media Credit: File Photo by Arielle Bader | Staff Photographer

Student-athletes will need to wear masks in the Smith Center when not practicing but will not have to work with capacity limits.

The athletic department announced over the summer that the Smith Center would face no COVID-19 capacity limitations for the upcoming fall season, only requiring masks in accordance with D.C.’s indoor mask mandate.

“We are grateful to everyone for their work to allow our students to safely train and compete last year, but there was something distinctly missing,” Athletic Director Tanya Vogel said in a release. “The environment that our fans create serves as an additional boost to our student-athletes as they strive to be at their very best, and they’re at their best when our loyal fans, students, families, friends and alumni are out in full behind them. We are thrilled to welcome back our fans to cheer on GW!”

The Colonials will kick off the fall semester with both men’s and women’s soccer games on the Mount Vernon Campus, while the Smith Center opens its doors to both volleyball and men’s water polo, the release states.

Baseball will also resume at Tucker Field at full capacity, along with softball and lacrosse later in the fall, according to the release. Men’s and women’s basketball, gymnastics and men’s and women’s swimming & diving will return in the winter with fans allowed at 100 percent capacity, according to the release.

Many sports suffered cancellations or delays due to COVID-19 concerns last fall and game attendance was restricted to players and members of the team. Sports like water polo were only able to compete in four out of the 10 games slated for the regular season.

“We trust fully in the leadership of the University and will work to ensure that we are making data and science-based decisions,” Vogel said in an email.

She said student-athletes will still need to continue using masks in the facilities as long as they are not practicing. She said the department currently does not know what to expect as the Delta variant surges through the country, but the department is prepared to follow public health guidance from officials and “adjust to matter” when they “don’t control the situation.”

“Until further notice, consistent with the District of Columbia’s decision to again require that people wear masks in indoor public settings, GW has reinstated its indoor mask requirement in university-owned or operated facilities for all individuals regardless of vaccination status,” Vogel said. “Accordingly, all visitors, spectators and guests inside the Charles E. Smith Center will be required to wear a mask. Additional and regular sanitation will also occur.”

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