The Richmond Chess Club is hosting a children’s chess game this Saturday

Two local colleges are taking very different approaches to dealing with the latest wave of Covid-19 Omicron cases.

Virginia Union University decided the risk to its students and fans was too great and closed all basketball games to spectators. They made the following statement on January 3.

Virginia Union University Athletics has announced that there will be a new “No Fan/Spectator” policy for its men’s and women’s basketball games at Barco-Stevens Hall until further notice.

Student-athlete and campus safety is the primary concern and reason for the temporary policy. The University is committed to implementing and maintaining a series of measures to help promote the health and well-being of students, employees and visitors to campus and to help reduce the risk of exposure and potential spread of COVID-19.

Only essential personnel will be permitted in Barco-Stevens Hall, which includes participating team members, coaches, officials, athletic trainers, scorer’s table staff and administrative staff.

Virginia Commonwealth University, on the other hand, continued to allow fans but kept a weakly enforced mask mandate.

VCU decided to increase the difference between the two programs by organizing a “Diaper Derby”. If you’re unfamiliar, a Diaper Derby involves letting young children crawl a set distance and the winner takes home a prize, in this case $529 for college. The twist is that the Covid vaccination is not currently available for anyone under the age of 5, so none of the babies will be vaccinated.

On January 12, CNN reported on the upsurge in Covid cases among children.

Childhood Covid-19 hospitalization rates are skyrocketing in the United States, with an average of 4.3 children under age 5 per 100,000 hospitalized with an infection as of the week ending January 1 , up from 2.6 children the previous week, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This represents a 48% increase from the week ending December 4 and the largest increase in hospitalization rates this age group has seen during the pandemic.

“For our youngest children, those who are not yet eligible for vaccination, it is extremely important that we surround them with vaccinated people to provide them with protection,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday.

Here is what VCU Athletics tweeted went out last night.

Whether college athletics continues is a debate for another time.

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