Since the start of the reopening plan for the new school year, everything has changed from the way football operates on and off the field to the way fans watch from the sidelines.
According to Jamie Lowry, this year, fans must wear a mask when within six feet of someone whether indoor or outdoor. During the football game, only 250 people may cheer together in a bleacher unit. Fans have to leave immediately after the game finishes, and groups on the courts or field are strictly prohibited. Fans and athletes should have their ride ready to leave the games when the event ends.
After games, the custodians clean and sanitize the bleachers. Following every home event, the custodial staff uses a sanitizing mister spray.
While socially distanced, fans still can buy their favorite game day foods, snacks, and beverages at the concessions area. Athletic Director Jamie Lowry said the concessions workers wear masks and gloves, and all of the food has to be prepackaged following the guidelines set by the local health department. The workers at the concessions have to make the food and then immediately package the items. The number of workers depends on the game and number of people at the game.
The sidelines at football games have been extended to the 10-yard line, so players, coaches and cheer can maintain six feet and take their masks off. Volleyball has two lines, alternating between people, for a six-feet distance, so the players, coaches, cheer members and photographers on the sidelines can be unmasked and safe.
However, all of these safety guidelines do not work unless the students, coaches, fans, and parents do not comply. Lowry said fans and players need to follow the rules and regulations set to keep everyone safe. If the community cannot come together and follow the rules for the games there will be no games to watch, he said.
“I wish I could get the parents to be more supportive in emphasizing to their kids the importance of observing the regulations in order to help us keep athletics going,” Lowry said.
The Athletic Department also offers the ability for students, staff, and family to watch the games online and in the comfort of their own homes. Subscribers pay $69.99 per year for the service.
“These [cameras] have the capability of automatically recording and following the action without someone having to manually operate the cameras,” Lowry said.