Morehouse College announced Friday that it has canceled this year’s homecoming festivities due to a surge of COVID-19.
Events were scheduled to occur Oct. 10-17. They will not be rescheduled. However, the Oct. 16 football game against Fort Valley State University will still be played but without the “homecoming” designation and with fewer tickets available to the game to implement social distancing.
University officials said they made the decision this week as Georgia broke the record for COVID-19 hospitalizations.
“The state has the sixth-highest per capita infection rate in the nation and an unprecedented number of young people have become ill with the virus,” Morehouse President David Thomas said. “Given the circumstances, a massive in-person gathering on our campus presents a public health risk to our students which is impossible to ignore.”
Thomas said nearly 100 percent of the students and employees on campus have met the vaccination requirement. With “aggressive” masking requirements and other safety protocols, Morehouse has limited the spread of the coronavirus on campus, he said. But he had to consider the broader community.
“Keeping our students safe is our top priority,” he said.
So in place of homecoming, the school will host a students-only fall festival. Access to campus on Oct. 16 will be limited to students and employees and other Atlanta University Center Consortium institutions, Thomas said in his statement.
“We would like to thank the many students and alumni who have provided feedback as we made this difficult decision, which balances the understandable desire of our community to gather together with our need to protect our students’ safety,” officials said.