On September 16, the Guilford Gazette, a publication of the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations, reported that this year’s Homecoming & Family Weekend festivities were canceled due to the increased number of cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina.
“The decision to cancel Homecoming reflects the recommendation of the College’s health and safety task force as well as the president’s office,” the Gazette statement read.
Other events were scheduled to continue on campus from October 8-10, such as the Guilford football game against Shenandoah University, men’s and women’s football games and two dedication events, open to family and friends. guests of those for whom the spaces have been appointed. .
Acting President Jim Hood then sent an update email to students on September 30 to announce that these events were to be postponed or canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak found at a testing clinic held in Guilford on September 29. According to the email, the testing clinic gave 26 positive tests out of 244 tests, which represents a positivity rate of 10.65 percent, the highest the school has experienced this semester.
Many students were frustrated with the news as many eagerly awaited the events back home. Taron Lilly, an OSLE intern, was one of the many people who helped plan events for the homecoming and was delighted to witness his first homecoming in Guilford in his sophomore year. Sadly, she will miss these events again this year.
“It’s a little frustrating that all of these events that I put so much effort into planning for, now I have to revitalize myself and reschedule because people weren’t safe from COVID,” Lilly said.
Hannah Arnett, president of the Guilford Student Body Association, was excited about the GSBA’s planned homecoming events and is now disappointed that they were canceled.
“I couldn’t wait to get dressed for Spirit Week and go to the football game,” Arnett said. “The GSBA had a student section and a midnight Monday breakfast, but now that the football game is canceled and everything is up in the air. It sucks that you can’t go to class and get dressed.
Footballer Milad Aghaiepour was eagerly awaiting the return football match and was eager to see the stands which were said to have been filled by the students and their families.
“It sucks (because) I feel like more people would come to the home game because of these pre-game events,” Aghaiepour said. “It sucks that the students don’t have that. I really like when the stands are full because I feel like I play better the more people there are.
While the students are frustrated with this outcome and these cancellation decisions, many of them understand why this was necessary.
“It’s kind of like I’m blinded and while I’m sad that the homecoming events aren’t happening, I’m also happy that Guilford thought about the welfare of the students,” said Lilly.
“We had a huge outbreak on campus, so I feel like it’s pretty valid,” Arnett added. “We had 26 positives on campus, and that doesn’t even count everyone on campus, so it’s quite necessary.”
Another mandatory COVID-19 testing clinic was held on campus on October 4 and 5. Clinic results showed the Guilford community returned to a 1% positivity rate, which is consistent with previous test results throughout the semester. As a result, the College moved out of phase 2 and returned to phase 4.
“It would be great if COVID were under control… (if the College could) postpone (these events) because it would give the students something to look forward to,” Arnett said.