UMKC athletics activities suspended following 17 coronavirus cases

Caleb Wilson

At the time of writing, UMKC has reported 19 new cases of coronavirus on campus since Sept. 13, totalling 62 cases in the month of September. Off-campus numbers have also increased by a reported 10 new cases since Sept. 10.

Swinney Recreation Center continues to be a hotspot for infected individuals. Seven of the 19 infected persons had visited Swinney Recreation Center prior to receiving a positive coronavirus test.

In the wake of the outbreak at the Swinney Center, UMKC Athletics Director Brandon Martin announced that all athletic related practices, workouts and in-person meetings would be suspended for two weeks starting Sept. 13. Martin stated that while he did not believe that official activities were responsible for an outbreak, student athletes and athletic staff had accounted for 17 cases alone. 

Almost half of those cases were traced to an off-campus gathering held by athletics students where social distancing and mask-related protocols were not followed, according to Martin. 

Student behavior has been a notably larger issue at UMKC’s sister school, the University of Missouri (MU). MU Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Bill Stackman announced in a statement last Tuesday that the school had expelled two students and suspended three others for “willful and knowing actions that threatened the safety of our campus and community.”

The university is also investigating 11 student organizations for coronavirus-related violations, which Stackman believes will result in similar punishments.

“It all comes down to this: Think beyond yourselves — consider the impact of your behavior on others and the Mizzou community,” Stackman emphasized. Stackman also noted that students should be mindful, as their actions and the ensuing spread will be what determines the future of the athletic season at MU and whether the campus will remain open for the fall and spring semesters.

MU has reported 28 new cases as of Sept. 18 in addition to the 156 already active cases among students. Since opening in mid-August, the school has seen a staggering total of 1,418 cases within the student body.

In a Sept. 14 email to the UMKC campus community, Chancellor Mauli Agrawal stated, “Thanks to the efforts of our students, faculty and staff to follow health and safety recommendations, we have kept the disease in check at a manageable level on campus.”

The same email reminded students and staff of protocols for reporting cases and advised students to “Take your temperature and monitor your health every day.”

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