One year ago, there was hope that a COVID-19 vaccine was on the way and society would soon return to normal. Unfortunately, the world has learned that will not be the case. While more and more Americans are becoming vaccinated against the virus, a large portion of Americans remain vaccine-hesitant and COVID-19 variants are popping up every day. As a result, health professionals have seen the number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations steadily rise in several areas of the country. Unfortunately, this recent rise in COVID-19 cases has led to canceled music festivals, closed schools and much more. This month, HBCU homecomings have become the latest casualty of the ongoing pandemic.
Earlier this month, Howard University announced that it would be implementing a "hybrid" approach that would eliminate large gatherings and outside visitors. As a result, Yardfest and pregame tailgating have been canceled. The school's football game is the only event that will be open to alumni and outside visitors.
"Because the health and safety of our Howard community is our priority, it would be unwise for us to hold large gatherings this year," Howard University President Wayne A. I. Fredrick said in a statement obtained by HBCU Buzz.
"Unfortunately, this means that tailgate and yard fest, among other in-person events, will not take place."
Howard University is not the only school to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. North Carolina A&T University has also adjusted its homecoming schedule due to the virus. This week, the university announced that its parade, fan fest and Greek organization picnic have been canceled. In addition, fans will be required to get vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test to attend the weekend's football game.
“The leadership of the university understands that Aggie Pride is strong, and we are working diligently every day to make sure that the safety of our students and alumni are top of mind,” North Carolina A&T Alumni Relations Associate Vice Chancellor Teresa M. Davis stated.
“Aggies, let’s do our part and keep everyone safe by getting vaccinated or showing proof of a negative COVID-19 test.”