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Fall Athletics at WPI

DEPARTMENT(S): 
July 17, 2020

This message was sent to all students:

I know that sports and physical activity play a critical role in your lives, and I love to see you seize opportunities for health and wellness, competitive outlets, teamwork, and lifelong bonds. However, given the challenges of operating the campus safely in the fall, we have reached the following very difficult decisions:

  • There will be no athletic competitions this fall; we don’t yet know the status of winter or spring sports activities, only that there will not be any athletic competitions prior to Jan. 1, 2021. 
  • Our physical education and recreation offerings will be different during A- and B- Terms; students will learn through individual programs that are focused on personal fitness.

These decisions were not made lightly; careful consideration and deliberation were given. But we remain in the midst of a pandemic, and we must keep the health and well-being of our community as our top priority. 

Over the past six years I have been a frequent fan at WPI athletic contests and have seen the competitive spirit in our varsity and club teams, as well as the unyielding respect that players and coaches have for each other and their opponents. I know how much time, energy, and commitment our student-athletes and coaching staffs have devoted to their respective sports. You know I have deep respect for you all, and I’m sure this decision is disappointing to so many of you. We all wish it was different.

Even without competitions, there are opportunities for both our varsity and club student-athletes to participate on campus in their respective sports throughout the fall:

  • For varsity athletics, our coaching staffs will develop strength and conditioning activities, skill workouts, leadership development, and team bonding—all within state and NCAA Covid-19 guidelines.
  • For club sport student-athletes, opportunities for continued engagement—similar to varsity sports—will depend upon the level of student interest and coaching availability. We encourage interested students to reach out to club leaders who will work with Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics to determine next steps as we head into fall.
  • The WPI Intramural Sports Program looks forward to reimagining programs online in the weeks ahead. We are reviewing various options and will share them at a later date.

We are continuing our work to determine how and when to safely reopen the Sports and Recreation Center on campus. We do know that only students who are participating in WPI’s COVID testing protocols will have access to this—or any—campus facility. In accordance with all appropriate guidelines (as recently released by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), you should expect limited access via advanced reservation; reduced availability of equipment and more limited hours of operation; enhanced cleaning protocols; proper social distancing; health checks; and required use of masks/face coverings. More details will be shared in the coming weeks.

I’m sure you have questions about your varsity athletic careers, club sports participation, intramurals, physical education, and more. The Athletics web page has been updated to provide more information. We also encourage students to reach out to coaches, group leaders, and others to talk through questions or concerns.

Please know that I remain committed to ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of the entire WPI community. And together, I know we can forge ahead with a renewed sense of purpose to care for one another and lift each other up in the days ahead.    

Sincerely,

Laurie Leshin
President