The Cavalier Marching Band’s wind instruments have been removed from the stands

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia (WVIR) – If you turn on your TV to a college football game, you will likely see the marching band playing in the stands. This is the case at almost all universities except the University of Virginia.

“We just want to play in the stands one last time before we graduate from college and probably never get that opportunity again,” said fourth year student Maria Parnell.

For Parnell and her comrades, like Elizabeth Stone, this fall was meant to be a return to normal.

“The morning of our very first game, we got an email, and it was really heartbreaking to see that we had to play on the field but not in the stands,” said Stone.

A statement from the AVU says that “playing wind instruments in a large crowd is a high-risk activity that our public health experts have recommended that we reduce in order to reduce the potential for viral transmission while playing.”

“It’s very clear that the greatest risks of COVID are not happening in the group section,” Parnell said. “It’s just very apparent.”

Parnell says the decision shows the university’s priorities when it comes to game days: “It’s hard to keep cheering on our school for four straight hours when we just don’t feel like they appreciate the value we bring when we play our music, ”she said.

In a final push to change policy, Parnell has launched a petition that has so far garnered more than 6,000 signatures.

“It’s really heartwarming to see,” she said. “We are receiving feedback on the petition, even from schools which are generally our rivals. “

“Whatever it takes to get us to play in the stands, we will,” said Stone.

UVA says it is committed to informing the community by November 1 if these COVID-19 policies will be adjusted.

The full UVA statement is below:

Like many other elements of college life this year, the University’s approach to the recent football game was to allow members of our community to participate in the activity while mitigating the risk of viral spread as much as possible. . The group played on the pitch, as usual, and before and after the game. In the stands, however, wind instruments present quite different risks.

Playing wind instruments in a large crowd is a high-risk activity that our public health experts have recommended that we restrict in order to reduce the potential for viral transmission during the game. We are evaluating all of our COVID policies based on the prevalence of the virus and we are committed to informing our community of any changes by November 1.

Copyright 2021 WVIR. All rights reserved.

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