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Monday, November 23, 2020

KU extends no-fans policy at athletic events through Dec. 5

Kansas guard Tristan Enaruna (13) soars in for a breakaway dunk against Monmouth during the second half on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Tristan Enaruna (13) soars in for a breakaway dunk against Monmouth during the second half on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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The University of Kansas is extending its policy of having no fans in the stands at home athletic events through Dec. 5, Chancellor Douglas Girod announced Monday afternoon.

Last week, the university announced that no fans would be allowed for the rest of November. In a letter posted on the university’s website on Monday, Girod announced the extension and said the plan after Dec. 5 is for KU officials to “make decisions about attendance on a week-by-week basis so we can be responsive to the most current circumstances and medical guidance.”

The extension will affect two home men’s basketball games — Dec. 3 vs. Washburn and Dec. 5 vs. North Dakota State — but will not affect any more women’s basketball games beyond the two scheduled for this week (Wednesday vs. Northern Colorado and Sunday vs. Texas A&M; Corpus Christi). The KU women are on the road at Ole Miss on Dec. 3, and their next home game will be against Oral Roberts on Dec. 6.

Girod wrote that the decision was made after consulting KU’s Pandemic Medical Advisory Team and university leaders.

“We will continue consulting this group regarding upcoming events and will communicate updates with you as appropriate,” Girod wrote.

Late last week, the Douglas County health department decreased the county’s mass gathering limit to 10 people because of increasing cases of COVID-19 in the community. But health department spokesman George Diepenbrock said KU could host groups larger than that if the university ensured that the fans in attendance were wearing masks and practicing social distancing. Diepenbrock told the Journal-World last week that a mass gathering is defined as one where individuals aren’t able to consistently stay 6 feet away from one another.

In a video posted on social media on Monday, KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self stood in an empty Allen Fieldhouse and told fans that “we all have to do our part” by following public health guidelines.

“This Thanksgiving and, of course, with the Christmas holiday coming up, don’t let your guard down. Mask up,” Self said. “This is a time we really need to bow our neck and be disciplined and not take a step backward. ... I hope to see you here soon.”

In October, KU announced that it expected to allow about 1,500 fans into Allen Fieldhouse for men’s and women’s basketball games this season.

Despite last week’s no-fans order, KU did have a few spectators at its women’s volleyball matches on Thursday and Friday. The spectators were guests who were invited by the players — KU officials told the Journal-World that each player was allowed to invite up to four guests. Friday’s match drew roughly 85 people.

None by Kansas Basketball

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