UMass Amherst pauses athletics as COVID-19 risk elevates to “high”

AMHERST, Mass. — UMass Amherst has paused all athletic activities as the campus’ COVID-19 risk level was raised from “elevated” to “high,” the school announced Sunday.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy announced in a letter to the UMass community that all games and practices will pause for UMass sports programs.

It will take effect on Feb. 7 at 2 p.m. and remain in place for a minimum of 14 days. The pause will only be lifted once public health conditions improve substantially.

The level on campus increased to “high” just two days after it was initially raised to “elevated,” the school said. The decision was made in consultation with the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Health.

It comes after more positive cases have been reported among students. From Feb. 2 to 4, UMass Amherst announced 298 positive cases for a total of more than 398 active cases as of Feb. 5.

UMass Amherst’s men’s hockey program is ranked No. 10 nationally with an 11-5-3 overall record. The Minutemen were scheduled to play at No. 14 Northeastern on Feb. 9 for their final regular season game.

Their men’s lacrosse program -- ranked No. 14 nationally in the Nike/US Lacrosse Division I Men’s Preseason Top 20 -- was scheduled to open their 2021 season against Army on Feb. 13.