Sports fans required to wear masks, maintain physical distancing at venues
Tue, 08/25/2020 - 1:20pm caleb
Crawford AuSable School District releases list of spectator guidelines for 2020 fall sports campaign, will not offer season passes
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
With Grayling High School fall sports teams starting competition, the Crawford AuSable School District Athletic Department, on Tuesday, August 25, released its list of spectator regulations for the fall season and announced that passes for the campaign will not be available for purchase this year.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced on Thursday, August 20, that all fall sports except for football will stay in the fall season.
(The MHSAA moved football – a sport it has classified as “high-risk” for the possible spread of COVID-19 due to “close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants” – to the spring of 2021, announcing the postponement on Friday, August 14.)
The announcement from the MHSAA on August 20 also said that competition could begin for boys soccer and girls volleyball – both of which are classified by the association as “moderate-risk” sports – as scheduled starting August 21, but only in Region 6 and Region 8 of Michigan. (The Crawford AuSable School District is in Region 6.) “Low-risk” fall sports such as girls golf and cross country were already authorized to begin competition as scheduled and the August 20 announcement did not make any changes to that timeline.
Grayling High School’s varsity boys soccer team and girls volleyball program had multiple home games and meets listed for the week of August 24 through 29 after several changes in their original schedules. The girls golf team hosted a meet at the Grayling Country Club on Monday, August 24.
The Crawford AuSable School District announced its list of fall sports spectator guidelines prior to the first home games for soccer and volleyball. The regulations include a spectator limit as mandated by Executive Order 2020-160 from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
“With this announcement comes limitations for spectators at both indoor and outdoor venues. For our indoor venues, we are allowed to have a maximum of 250 people. For our outdoor venues (we) are allowed a maximum of 500 people,” according to the Crawford AuSable School District Athletic Department. “At both of these locations the number of people allowed includes all athletes, coaches, game officials, event workers, spectators, etc.”
It is unlikely that a boys soccer game at Grayling High School would reach the 500-person limit. For volleyball, it is possible that a tournament with three or four schools present could approach the limit of 250 people at an indoor sports venue.
(Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-160 limits indoor gatherings in general to 10 people, but it offers an exception for sports venues in Region 6 and Region 8 if they comply with social distancing recommendations.)
Grayling schools will have specific seating arrangements in order to adhere to physical distancing regulations.
“Seats will be clearly marked. Seats will be in sets of four for members of the same household but everyone else must be able to maintain social distancing. You must sit in the designated seating area as they are arranged to maintain social distancing,” according to the CASD Athletic Department.
People attending sports activities at the Grayling schools are required to wear masks.
“All individuals not in active participation (athletes/officials) must wear a face covering at all times, which includes substitutes, coaches, game event workers, medical personnel, media members, spectators, etc.,” according to the CASD Athletic Department.
The schools ask that spectators not attend games if they are sick.
“Before arriving at any of our facilities you must self-screen yourself for any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If you are showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19, you must stay home. Event staff may screen you onsite if necessary,” according to the CASD Athletic Department.
Viking athletes will have access to a certain number of tickets for games. The school district will not be offering season passes for the fall of 2020 sports campaign, and there will not be a “student section” in the gym or in the stadium, according to the spectator guide.
“We will not be selling any athletic passes during the fall season and all tickets to events will cost $5 per person. Senior citizens (62+) and anyone under the age of five years old do not have to purchase a ticket but still count towards our maximum capacity,” according to the CASD Athletic Department. “For home games all athletes will be allowed to reserve for purchase two tickets for all indoor venues and four tickets for all outdoor venues to allow family members to be able to attend events and still comply with the limited seating requirements. If there are extra tickets available for events they will be sold as general admission. Tickets can be purchased onsite and we are asking that you have exact change for events to limit contact between workers and spectators.”
“Student sections will be eliminated during the fall season to promote social distancing and allow for family members of athletes to attend games due to limited seating,” according to the CASD Athletic Department. “If you leave a facility at any time you will not be allowed to return back into the facility.”
Grayling High School is planning to offer live streaming of games online, but the system is not yet in place.
“We are currently working on the ability to live stream events and once we have everything in place we will send the information out to the general public so you will be able to view games. There will be a monthly or yearly subscription to stream games,” according to the CASD Athletic Department.
The athletic department acknowledges that future executive orders and subsequent guidelines from the MHSAA could change the spectator limits and other restrictions.
“If there are any changes to the spectator guidelines from the governor’s office or the MHSAA you will be notified. Please remember that we are very excited that we are able to compete in athletics once again and these guidelines have been put in place for everyone’s health and safety. If we are unable to maintain these guidelines during athletic events we may be forced to eliminate spectators this fall,” according to the CASD Athletic Department.