COLUMBIA, Mo. — The University of Missouri has canceled two of its most popular and well-attended fall events, the Family Weekend scheduled for late September and the Homecoming Parade.
The cancellation of Family Weekend, scheduled for Sept. 25 to 27, was announced in an email message to community leaders in Boone County from UM System President and MU Chancellor Mun Choi.
Choi wrote that he wanted to give advance notice because it will lead to a loss of business, especially at hotels.
"Hosting Family Weekend events at this time would run counter to university policies and procedures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, such as those limiting events to no more than 20 people and limiting travel for all community members," Choi wrote.
The cancellation of the Homecoming parade came in a notice to people and organizations asking for a spot in the event scheduled for Oct. 17.
"The parade does not meet University of Missouri or City of Columbia standards for social distancing," the note stated. "While we are heartbroken to make this announcement, we must prioritize our campus and community safety. We are grateful for the excitement and dedication you have shown in supporting Mizzou's most honored tradition."
Boone County Northern District Commissioner Janet Thompson, who had applied for a spot for the county's bicentennial committee, said she is disappointed because she had hoped to ride her large American Saddlebred, Bertie, in the parade.
It would have been Bertie's first parade, she said.
"He's been practicing with his flag and he is pretty impressed with himself," Thompson said.
No further information is available about whether other Homecoming activities, such as the annual blood drive, have been canceled or scaled back.
"As Homecoming approaches, we'll announce other fun ways to celebrate and support Mizzou," the notice to parade applicants states.
The Family Weekend is when the university showcases itself to the parents of new students. Choi wrote that he is "cautiously optimistic" it can be held in the spring.
"Please understand that this was not an easy decision to make. We are aware of the effect this decision will have on local businesses. However, we need to do all we can to protect our Tigers and all members of our Columbia community." Choi wrote.
These maps and charts show the spread of COVID-19 in Missouri and Illinois.
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