In-person Homecoming events cancelled

Truman State University has cancelled all in-person activities for Homecoming and Family Day during the fall semester, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

The announcement was made in the Aug. 17 issue of Truman Today, which stated that the events were cancelled to limit the spread of coronavirus and minimize exposure. The statement explained that it would be difficult for these events to maintain safe social distancing measures. The events also encourage non-Truman students to come engage in the events.

“[Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines still advise against large gatherings, and it is not logistically feasible to plan multiple events which would allow participants to maintain proper social distance,” the announcement stated.

Truman is in the process of planning virtual events to replace the in-person events. The Student Affairs Office and Alumni office are working on finalizing the details of these events, like a virtual 5K, virtual tailgate and trivia.

Janna Stoskopf, vice president for student affairs, said the decision was made by the Executive Leadership Team. This team is composed of President Sue Thomas,  the vice presidents and Chief Information Officer Donna Liss.

“While Homecoming events are planned for current students, the original intent of Homecoming was — and continues to be — to invite alumni to return and celebrate their connection to the University as a collective, and to reconnect with friends from their days at Truman,” Stoskopf said. 

Stoskopf said the virtual events are still being planned. The team is working with students to gather ideas as to what events they would like to see. Stoskopf said they are trying to make these events fun and memorable, in spite of how different the events will be compared to previous Homecoming events.

Stoskopf said the fall semester will be different without Homecoming, but emphasized that everything has been different this year due to COVID-19. She is sure that there are some people who will be upset at the cancellation of these longstanding events, but hopes everyone will understand.

“I am so appreciative of the commitment of people across campus being willing to make personal sacrifices and focus on the overall well-being of the community as a whole,” Stoskopf said. 

Laura Bates, director of the Student Union and Campus Activities, said the cancellation of any large event is difficult. Bates is hopeful students and alumni will be understanding of the cancellation and the reasons behind it.

“Events like Homecoming bring people together for a variety of reasons, and it is difficult to conceptualize how that could happen with today’s challenges,” Bates said.

Bates said  the cancellation of Family Day and Homecoming are another example of the difference between this semester and past terms. She said everyone has to look at how things can be done differently and safely. Bates said she is looking forward to planning future Homecoming events once public health parameters permit it.