The students and faculty of Piedmont College should see themselves as lucky to get a spring semester in person, as Piedmont is very COVID-19 conscious. However, when it comes to restrictions put in place to “stop the spread,” how far is too far?
Since last fall, the promise of sports in spring 2021 kept our student-athletes and fans motivated for the new semester. So far, the spring season is slowly and cautiously moving along. This is a huge deal for students. It provides a sense of normalcy where it is hard to find now.
However, this sense of normalcy was short-lived as Piedmont College determined that “only essential gameday personnel will be in attendance at home athletic events until further notice.” This caused a minor uproar throughout the campus.
Most students find this ridiculous, seeing as most spring sporting events are outside, and social distancing is possible. Parents, students, and faculty alike believe these are very drastic measures, especially considering that Piedmont is a small D3 school. If UGA can have home games with spectators, why can’t we?
While Piedmont fans have access to the different games and matches via live streaming, it doesn’t replicate watching the game in person. The players won’t be able to hear the roar of the crowd cheering them on, and the spectators won’t be able to get that same sensation they get from supporting their home team live and in person.
Many parents have taken to Facebook with their frustrations -and students have blown up the Piedmont app with their anger over this policy noting that this restriction doesn’t apply to theatre productions, art exhibits, or concerts. Those events are open to the public, It’s easy to understand why many students and parents feel that the school is targeting sports.
The college should be consistent with its policies on crowds and audiences, whether it’s an art exhibit or a baseball game. Perhaps the college could limit the number of people allowed to watch the games and have designated areas marked for safe social distancing seating, as the theatre department is doing for its productions.
Piedmont prides itself on being a big family. In this sense, the administrators, faculty and staff are like the parents, and students are like the children. When it comes to keeping the campus safe from COVID-19, every family member is on the same page. We all want the school year to go as normally as possible, and the children are willing to go along with any reasonable rules set forth by the parents to ensure this happens.
But the inconsistency of the spectator policy is like parents favoring one child over another. It’s time for the parents to recognize the inconsistency of their rules and treat every one of their children equally.