by Kate Colgan

Why will all attendees not be required to be vaccinated?

As a student organization, THON is not able to mandate vaccinations for anyone besides Penn State Students and Staff. As THON Weekend is a free event that is open to the public, THON will not be able to verify in real time the vaccination status of anyone wishing to enter the building. However, all in-person participants will be required to wear masks, and individuals wishing to access the floor are required to be registered for THON Weekend ahead of time, allowing us to verify the vaccination status of these students and staff.

Why do I need to be vaccinated to access the floor?

Those wishing to access the floor THON Weekend come into the closest proximity with our Four Diamonds families. In order to ensure the safety of our families, and out of an abundance of caution, we are requiring that all students and staff members wishing to access the floor be vaccinated.

Why do I have to wear a mask at THON Weekend?

Indoor masking is a Penn State University policy, which is consistent with CDC guidance for the county. As an event that takes place on Penn State’s campus, everyone attending THON Weekend will be required to be masked at all times. As an organization devoted to supporting children and families impacted by childhood cancer, it remains our top priority to keep them safe, along with all participants. Safety is our highest priority.

How is this event safe for Four Diamonds families who are off treatment?

Dr. Lisa McGregor, Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, has advised that the event and safety protocols are safe for children who are off treatment, and also, for example, attend school. THON will continue to work with the Penn State Covid-19 Operations Control Center and professionals at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital to ensure THON Weekend is safe for all families and supporters. As always, we encourage anyone who wishes to attend the event to get vaccinated and comply with University masking guidelines.

What if I don’t want to be vaccinated?

If you are a student or staff member that does not wish to be vaccinated, you will still be able to attend THON Weekend. However, you will not be able to access the event level of the building. We strongly encourage all attendees to be fully vaccinated prior to the event to ensure all families, volunteers, alumni, and supporters feel as safe as possible.

What if I am unable to be vaccinated?

If you are unable to be vaccinated, you will still be able to attend THON Weekend as a masked spectator, however you will be unable to gain access to the event or mezzanine levels. 

What if I am a THON Captain or Committee Member that does not want to be vaccinated?

You will still be able to attend THON Weekend, however you will not be able to access or work any shifts on the mezzanine or event level of the building.

Why are active treatment Four Diamonds families encouraged not to attend THON Weekend in person?

Children in active treatment may have weakened immune systems, and heightened vulnerability.  They are often restricted by their doctors during the course of treatment from many activities, including school, playground activities, and in-person events like THON Weekend. 

How will THON continue to support active treatment families if they are discouraged from attending THON Weekend?

THON Weekend 2022 will include a robust livestream component and extensive virtual programming. The Family Relations Committee will continue to engage virtually with families who are not able to attend the event due to any number of reasons.  

How will THON be verifying vaccination statuses?

THON will work with Penn State’s Covid-19 Operations Control Center to assess vaccination status for Penn State students, faculty, and staff who plan to access the floor or mezzanine during the weekend.