UNR won’t have fans at football opener due to COVID-19

With COVID-19 case numbers rising quickly among students, the University of Nevada, Reno is closing its fitness center and won’t have fans at its football season opener this month.

UNR won’t have fans at its football season opener Oct. 24 against Wyoming at Mackay Stadium, with the exception of family members of athletes. And the university is closing its E.L. Wiegand Fitness Center effective 5 p.m. Thursday for the rest of the semester, but Lombardi Pool will remain open, fitness classes will be offered online and equipment rentals will be available.

New UNR President Brian Sandoval, who started on the job Monday, made the announcement Tuesday on the university’s website. He also announced UNR has launched an online COVID-19 case dashboard.

Sandoval wrote that despite an “extraordinary job” fighting the spread of the virus on campus, “off-campus activities have contributed to the spike in positive cases on campus.”

In the announcement, Sandoval wrote: “We considered many factors in making these decisions, noting especially how so many members of our Wolf Pack Family continue to make shared sacrifices in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. I know that this announcement will be a source of disappointment for many, but our decisions must be based on what is in the best interest of the collective health and safety of the Wolf Pack Family.”

UNR saw 111 coronavirus cases last week alone. Of those, 107 were among students and four were among faculty/staff.

Since the pandemic began, the university has reported a total of 581 student cases and 42 faculty/staff cases, according to its online dashboard.

The Nevada System of Higher Education’s website includes slightly different figures — 590 student cases and 36 faculty/staff cases since March 1.

Earlier this fall, outgoing UNR President Marc Johnson issued two messages about case numbers and off-campus parties. In the first message, issued just before Labor Day weekend, he wrote that students who engage in off-campus behavior that violates the university’s Student Code of Conduct will face disciplinary action.

Nevada colleges and universities are reporting COVID-19 case numbers on their websites, although it doesn’t mean those who tested positive contracted the virus while on campus.

UNR — which has about 20,700 students — has seen significantly higher COVID-19 case numbers than its Southern Nevada college and university counterparts, despite also holding the majority of classes remotely.

UNLV, which has more than 31,000 students, has seen a cumulative total of 178 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 135 were among students, 31 among staff and 12 among faculty.

The university reported 18 new COVID-19 cases, all among students, for the week ending Oct. 2.

The College of Southern Nevada, which has 27,000 students, has reported 61 cases since March 1. Of those, 28 were for the Henderson campus (24 students and four employees), 18 were for the Charleston campus (14 students and four employees) and 15 were for the North Las Vegas campus (13 students and two employees).

Nevada State College in Henderson, which has more than 5,500 students, has reported 24 cases since March 1. Of those, 21 were among students and three among employees.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.


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