UW-Madison Marching Band cancels 2 rehearsals over COVID-19 cases

The university did not reveal how many people affiliated with the band tested positive.
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The University of Wisconsin Marching Band will skip two days of rehearsals after several of its members tested positive for COVID-19. So far, the new cases have not upset the band’s performance schedule.

According to the university, the band’s leaders called off the upcoming practices as a precautionary measure, pointing out that, not only do they play together, many of them also live together in off-campus housing.

University spokesperson John Lucas noted that while the close living conditions may afford more opportunities for the virus to be spread amongst the band, it conversely also reduces the chances for exposing other groups on-campus. Lucas added that contact tracers are following up with infected students and university workers, so they can reach out to anyone who may have been exposed to the virus.

The university did not reveal how many people affiliated with the band tested positive.

The band’s leadership reminded students they can get free, on-campus testing if they are having symptoms, have come in close contact with someone who was infected, or are concerned for other reasons. They also asked anyone experiencing COVID-related symptoms to stay home from practice – and to avoid other in-person activities.

In his statement confirming the cancellations, Lucas painted the recent exposures as not unexpected, cautioning that university officials fully expect to see cases rise over the next few weeks. To that end, though, he highlighted the fact the already sky-high campus vaccination rate has climbed even further to 91.5 percent.

“With our high campus vaccination rate… we’re hopeful that most campus cases will be mild,” he said.

Looking outside the university, Lucas added all but one county in Wisconsin is reporting a high level of COVID-19 transmission, and Dane Co. is still seeing lower spread than other portions of the state.

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