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VSU homecoming traditions return with COVID-19 protocols

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 6:35 PM EDT
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ETTRICK, Va. (WWBT) - Homecoming traditions at Virginia State University return to campus this year after the COVID-19 pandemic stopped past plans.

The events are back with extra measures in place to keep students, employees and visitors safe from COVID-19.

“Just like what we would do with our own family, we wanted to ensure that our Trojan family could come back and have a really good time and to do so safely,” said Gwen Williams Dandridge, assistant vice president of communications for Virginia State University.

Earlier this year, VSU required students, faculty and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The school will also require those attending homecoming events to show proof of vaccination through their original or digital vaccine card.

Before going to an event, attendees will need to show this proof at one of the COVID vaccine verification tents around campus.

At this tent, attendees will need to show their vaccine card and government-issued ID to receive an armband.

“We will place that armband on their arm so it can’t be removed without cutting it off. We’ve made them very unique so they can’t be duplicated,” said Dandridge.

Those who attend homecoming events will also need to wear their mask.

“At the football game and at all of our campus events, we are mandating that masks be worn in addition to being fully vaccinated,” she said.

Dandridge also says a number of homecoming events that were open to the public in years past, including Friday’s pep rally at Rogers Stadium, will only be open to students and employees only.

“That way it allows us to, again, control the crowd,” she said. “Again, we are a fully vaccinated campus.”

Liyla Riley, a VSU student, was one of the dozens attending the pep rally at Rogers Stadium.

“It actually makes me feel happy because they have several activities for you to do out here and meet new people,” Riley said.

In addition to these safety protocols, VSU has also had to cancel a number of homecoming events.

To allow for more social distancing during the tailgates, the vendors’ bazaar is canceled. The homecoming parade through downtown Petersburg is also canceled.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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