Southern matched up against Troy for the season opener in Troy, Alabama Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Troy defeated the Jaguars 55-5.

Southern University will require football fans 12 years and older attending Saturday’s home opener against Miles College to wear masks before entry and during the game as an update to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the school announced Tuesday.

The restrictions include A.W. Mumford Stadium and all related Southern facilities for the fall season, according to a release posted on the website. Southern and Miles will play in the Pete Richardson Classic beginning at 6 p.m.

Masks must be worn at all times, unless eating or drinking, the release said. Masks are not required for fans tailgating outside the stadium, but are highly recommended, athletic director Roman Banks said.

The decision comes after consultation with Banks, Gov. John Bel Edwards, Southern Chancellor-President Dr. Ray Belton and Southern Board of Supervisors chairman Domoine Rutledge. In recent weeks, the state has undergone a surge in the highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus.

"As the only HBCU system in the state of Louisiana, our foremost responsibility is to ensure the safety of our students, our supporters, and Jaguar Nation," Belton said. "We must take all reasonable measures to protect our campus and community, not only on game days, but long after guests have left A.W. Mumford and The Bluff. The serious nature of the threat to our health, well-being, and our lives, we must do our part to stop the spread."

Fans watching the game in fieldhouse or press box suites must show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination, a photo or photocopy of the vaccination card, or verified digital proof of vaccination. Those fans must also mask.