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Penn State To Host Socially Distanced Watch Parties For Ohio State Game

Penn State will host socially distanced football watch parties for first-year students this weekend, the university announced Tuesday.

The event, scheduled for Saturday, October 31, will provide designated areas around campus to safely watch the No. 18 Nittany Lions’ matchup against No. 3 Ohio State. Penn State plans to host watch parties at Panzer Stadium, Beard Field, and Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

Although the event is free, students will need to register for it ahead of time and sign up for “pods” of one or two students. Penn State will send registration information to eligible students and expand the event to non-first-years should there be enough room.

Each event will feature a livestream of the highly anticipated game, include free snacks, and a chance to win some prizes, including AirPods, Amazon gift cards, and more.

Penn State said it will adhere to Governor Tom Wolf’s recently revised gathering guidelines and place students in assigned seats in the stands or on the turf, spaced out with a 6-foot distance between pods. Attendees will also be required to complete a coronavirus symptom check ahead of time and wear a mask at all times.

Penn State’s Public Health Ambassadors will also be on-hand to ensure students follow guidelines and stay safe at the event.

“In the early stages of the pandemic, as we welcomed students onto our campuses and initiated new COVID-19 management plans, public health concerns meant taking a firmer line and curtailing all activities,” Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims said. “But with more knowledge at our disposal now an organized approach that decreases risk by meeting certain thresholds with masking and distancing will allow us to carefully offer adapted versions of activities.” 

The event’s announcement comes as Penn State attempts to crack down on large-scale downtown partying that could put the community at an increased risk for coronavirus spread. A joint investigation by Penn State and State College police is currently attempting to identify those involved and issue citations, fines, and potential disciplinary measures.

“The reckless and irresponsible gatherings that occurred this weekend fly in the face of our efforts as a community to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus,” Barron said. “We will be working closely with the borough this weekend and throughout the rest of the football season to stop negligent behavior. I’m proud of the efforts of the majority of our students, and I am determined to hold accountable those who would jeopardize not just their own safety, but the safety of other students and of our broader community.”

Penn State encouraged students who don’t attend the socially distanced events to find ways to watch the game “in a manner that is safe for themselves and the community.”

Penn State will kick off against Ohio State at 7:30 p.m. on Halloween. The game will be televised nationally on ABC.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]

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