KCSD to cap attendance at sporting events

Maximum 250 allowed outdoors; 25 indoors

MILL HALL — As the tug-of-war continues between Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and the PIAA, schools throughout the Commonwealth have opened their fall sports seasons.

At Thursday night’s Keystone Central school board work session, superintendent Jacquelyn Martin outlined the district’s plan for attendance guidelines at fall sports events — covering everything from tennis to Friday night football.

After originally saying that high school sports would be held without fans in the stands, Gov. Wolf updated guidelines earlier this week. Under the new set of guidelines, outdoor sporting events are capped at 250, while indoor events are limited to 25.

“While that seems really great, there’s a lot of challenges to that,” Martin said, “because there are parameters around those spectators being able to participate.”

While the 250 cap might be doable for a sport like girls’ soccer, it will be difficult for a sport like varsity football, which typically attracts thousands of spectators on any given fall Friday night.

“There cannot be more than 250 people at an outdoor event. That includes all of the game workers, the athletes, anybody who is attending that event — a body counts in that 250, regardless of what their role is,” Martin said.

Martin presented the board with a draft of the attendance plan, which would be attached to the athletics’ health and safety plan, which was approved back in August. The attendance plan would go to a vote at next week’s voting session, which is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 10. However, implementation of the plan would begin immediately since there are sporting events scheduled prior to the voting session.

Under the plan, each student-athlete would get tickets to distribute to their family and friends. The tickets would be color coded for the event and would be given free of charge.

Additionally, fan attendance would be limited to the home team, Martin said.

“I feel strongly that there should be no visitors from opposing teams. We should save any available seating for parents and families of our home team,” Martin said.

Martin said that during a Friday night football game, for example, she wants student participants to be the top priority.

“I want to see not only the football players there, I want to see the band members there, I want to see the cheerleaders there. They’ve worked as well throughout the summer, throughout their camps and they deserve to have their time on Friday nights just as much as everybody else,” Martin said.

Under the current plan, tickets would be given to a coach a couple of days before an athletic event. Tickets will go to players, cheerleaders and band members. The tickets would then be distributed to students, who could take them to family. For football, two tickets will go to senior players, cheerleaders and band members. Ticket distribution will begin with seniors, then juniors, sophomores and freshmen until the ticket supply is exhausted.

“We want to give priority to the seniors. We understand that’s not ideal for every family. It’s the best we can do right now. If we have to shut down at any point in time, we want to make sure that our families had an opportunity to see their children play in their senior year,” Martin said.

Those attending events would be required to wear a mask and social distance. Members of the same household would not be required to social distance and could sit together at events.

According to Martin, wearing a mask, though, is non-negotiable.

“If parents or family members want to come into these events, they’re going to have to comply. If they don’t want to comply, then they’re going to be asked to leave. They’re going to be asked nicely to put their mask on. If we have continuous problems or this becomes an issue where the parents who want to come see their kids aren’t wearing them … unfortunately, if they’re not following the safety protocol and they’re not going to follow the law, then we’re going to shut things down for spectators. It is possible that a few people can ruin it for everybody,” Martin said.

Next week’s voting session is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 10 at the Central Mountain High School library. The meeting is closed to the public, but will be available via Zoom.


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