Student groups adjust to Duke’s new gathering limits, recent COVID-19 spike as events kick off

As student groups plan their first meetings of the year, Duke’s COVID-19 guidelines are constantly evolving, allowing clubs to navigate a variety of meeting formats.

Women’s volleyball clubs have asked female players to only attend practice after attending major events if their test is negative.

“If you are planning to attend large unmasked gatherings this weekend or at any time this semester, we ask that you stay home and not attend training unless you have been tested. negative between event and training, ”wrote senior Celina Zhou, club president. , in an August 28 email to the team.

Zhou also encouraged members who have had recent contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 not to attend training until the test is negative.

Within two hours of the University’s August 30 COVID-19 update, Zhou sent a follow-up email to the team regarding the practice policy changes. The update asked clubs not to hold social gatherings with more than 50 people.

The captains sent a message to GroupMe, and the first 50 people to like the message would be invited to practice.

“We will cap attendance at 50 people, which is the first 50 people to like the post,” Zhou wrote. “If you’re not in the first group of 50, we’re very sorry, but please don’t come and practice.”

In an email to The Chronicle, Zhou explained that the first-come, first-served method was the most efficient way to continue the practices, given the 50-person limit.

“Limiting the number of players in training was certainly not an ideal situation, as the club is a very inclusive environment, and we want everyone who wants to play to have this opportunity. We really strive to make the club as drama / toxic free as possible, especially since many of us were from high school and club teams that were very competitive in bad environments, ”Zhou wrote. “On the other hand, we could never have predicted that more than 50 people would be interested – we usually only have about 30 girls at most, so there was no other option for us. for the moment.”

Christina Wang, chair of the Duke student government, explained that upcoming Senate meetings will be held in person with a virtual option, as the Senate body currently has fewer than 50 members. Wang noted that they “will reassess this decision when [they] get new members and inevitably exceed the indoor gathering limit of 50 people.

“This structure was chosen by the board taking into account the personal preferences of the members for physical and mental health and safety,” Wang wrote. “We think most DSG members currently prefer in-person events that are socially distanced!”

Zhou also noted that despite everyone’s willingness to participate, decisions were made to protect everyone’s safety.

“We are implementing these changes not to exclude anyone from training, but to make sure we are following Duke’s guidelines that keep our club running. We want everyone who wants to play to have this opportunity; However, given the global pandemic, it’s a little harder to do, ”Zhou wrote.

Pancakes for Parkinson’s is a group of students who organize events to raise funds for the Michael J. Fox Foundation to support research into Parkinson’s disease. Thus, in-person events are important to the success of the club.

Second-year student Emma Brennan, who is part of the Pancakes for Parkinson’s leadership team, explained that they had yet to host general bodily events, but were planning to do so at the to come up.

“We hope to see how the guidelines change after this two week period of increased restrictions,” said Brennan. “We plan to do events in person while they can be safe and follow Covid guidelines.”

Brennan explained that they currently offer a hybrid format for scheduling meetings, but that the group is hoping to be able to host in-person social events where club members bring their friends.

Madeleine Berger

Madeleine Berger is in her sophomore year at Trinity and editor-in-chief of academic news for the 117th volume of The Chronicle.

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