Yale Daily News

As students, faculty and staff walked through the entrance to John J. Lee Amphitheater last weekend, attendants at the entrances to the gym requested Yale IDs before spectators could take a seat to cheer on the Bulldogs. It was the department’s first indoor sporting event since the start of the pandemic, and the stands were full of eager, vaccinated fans cheering on the women’s volleyball team during their tournament. 

Yale’s Athletic Department has implemented two different fan attendance policies for this fall: one for outdoor games and another for indoor games. Yale’s Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications Mike Gambardella told the News that unvaccinated spectators may attend outdoor events, as long as they wear a face covering for the duration of the game. He noted, however, that unvaccinated Yale fans are not allowed to attend indoor games. 

Besides Yale students, faculty and staff, additional fans are allowed to attend home volleyball games provided that they have been admitted to a pass list by a Yale volleyball player or opponent, Gambardella said. Each player and opponent is allowed four guests, and each guest must show proof of vaccination as well as a valid ID. 

He did not indicate how guards would verify the vaccination status of Yale students, staff and faculty beyond asking for their Yale IDs. Yale students, faculty and staff are required to be vaccinated with limited religious and medical exemptions. 98 percent of Yale undergraduates, 97 percent of graduate and postgraduate students, 94 percent of faculty and 91 percent of staff are vaccinated.

Vaccinated supporters at outdoor venues like Reese Stadium, where the men’s and women’s soccer teams play, may go maskless, per CDC guidelines for vaccinated individuals at outdoor events. Gambardella also told the News that there is no capacity limit on fan numbers at the Yale Bowl, John J. Lee Amphitheater, Reese Stadium or Johnson Field.

“It’s just so fun to play in front of a real crowd and get to compete in a serious environment again after everything being online for so long,” Yale volleyball libero Maile Somera ’24 said after the team’s opening home weekend. “It felt totally surreal and honestly we’re just all so grateful to be able to play the sport again and compete together in front of people that are interested.”

Gambardella noted that the Yale policies were developed in conjunction with the University’s COVID-19 Response Team. Each Ivy League team is responsible for their own fan policies, he added. 

Fans are also excited to keep supporting the Bulldogs as they make their comeback. Diego Lopez ’24 noted how excited he is to cheer on his friends at games this year after seeing how much work they put into practices.  

“I’m really excited to be able to go to these games again,” Jackie Testamark ’24 said. “Not being able to support my friends in their athletic endeavors was an unfortunate reality of the past year and a half.” 

Yale women’s soccer played the first home game of the season on Aug. 27 at Reese Stadium.

Ángela Pérez is City Editor of the YDN. She was a former beat reporter, covering City Hall and Women's Volleyball. She was a former editor and writer for the WKND desk. She is from Puerto Rico and plans to major in Architecture.