Students concerned about COVID-19 spread when Buckeyes football returns

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — There is concern on and around the campus of The Ohio State University that when football season returns, it may bring an increase in large parties and gatherings where COVID-19 can spread.

“When we start playing games, even if we had a small number of fans in the stands, I think you all know that there will be watch parties and those are super-spreaders,” said OSU Athletic Director Gene Smith on Wednesday. “We’re going to need help to try and encourage people to follow the protocols.”

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) and members of OSU’s Greek life have played a role in trying to slow the spread of the virus. The IFC is the governing body of the university’s 27 social fraternities.

“I think everyone’s concerned about gatherings,” said Drew Fitch, president of the IFC.

Fitch and other leaders within the Greek community have been encouraging fellow students to report large parties and gatherings to the university. The plan is for that push to continue when the Buckeyes begin their season.

“We’re really just encouraging people to stay safe and not be hosting these events where there is the potential for spread,” he said.

NBC4 reached out to OSU spokesperson Ben Johnson to see if and how the university would enforce health and safety guidelines off-campus once the football season begins. Johnson sent the following statement:

“We will be expanding and enhancing our ongoing public health communications efforts to emphasize the need for safe and healthy practices as we cheer on the Buckeyes. We will share more information soon. Our first priority is always the health and safety of our community.“

The Big Ten football season is scheduled to begin October 23 and 24.

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