A recently hired assistant basketball coach at Shorter University died Saturday after falling ill with COVID-19.
Officials at the private Christian university in Georgia confirmed the death of Ryan Dupree in a statement but declined to provide additional details about his death or to say whether anyone on the basketball team, in the athletics department or anywhere else on campus may have been exposed to Dupree or is under quarantine as a result.
“The Shorter University family was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Coach Ryan Dupree on Saturday,” the statement said. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Our prayers are with them and the basketball team in this time of loss.”
Dawn Tolbert, associate vice president for advancement and public relations, said in an email that the university “is not doing any interviews.”
The Rome News Tribune reported that Dupree was 24 years old and had recently started working at the university. Dupree died “from pneumonia brought on by the virus” and “his illness and death happened in just the span of two days,” according to the publication.
Georgia is among a number of Republican-controlled states that bar colleges from requiring vaccines or other public health measures, such as mandatory masking. The American College Health Association has called these state-level prohibitions “a recipe for disaster.”
Shorter University, like many other higher institutions in the state, “does not require its faculty, staff, or students to be vaccinated or show proof of vaccination,” according to the “preventative measures” protocol for fall 2021 posted on the university’s website. Masks or face coverings are also not required but “are strongly encouraged” and “members of the campus community are encouraged to carry face coverings in case of exposure or developing symptoms.”