Attendance will be limited for home football and volleyball games this year due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. The Chetek-Weyerhaeuser Board of Education approved administrators’ plans they presented and recommended on Monday evening, Sept. 14.
The guidelines and spectator limits depend on the sport, expected spectator attendance, the ability to socially distance and whether or not it is held inside or outside. When inside school buildings, masks must be worn at all times, as well times when socially distancing is not possible outside.
For middle school and high school football and volleyball games, the games will not be open to the general public.
Specifically for high school football and volleyball games, each player or cheerleader will get five paper passes to distribute to five family members for the duration of the season. The passes will be signed by the person, and they are non-transferable to others during the season. Passes will be checked at the door or gate and family groups will be encouraged to sit together and socially distance from others. Season pass holders will be encouraged to register on a Google Document in case contact tracing has to be done at a later time.
Passes won’t be issued for middle school football and volleyball games but games will only be open to family members.
For cross-country and girls’ golf, there are no restrictions on spectators due to the ability to socially distance and the fewer number of spectators at events.
For away games, it becomes a bit more complicated, noted athletic director Koll Fjelstad, because not all schools are implementing the exact same guidelines. For example, St. Croix Falls is not allowing any visiting team spectators. Conversely, Cumberland is not restricting attendance and only encouraging attendance be limited to four to six members per family. When traveling to an away game, C-W must follow the hosting school’s rules and limits for spectators and communicating these different guidelines to families and fans will be a challenge. Fjelstad said the week before away games are scheduled, information on any spectator restrictions will be passed along to athletes and parents, as well as the community via the school’s website.
Beyond that, circumstances could change, meaning more or fewer spectators could be allowed at home or away games.
The specific guidelines and updates can be found at https://www.cwasd.k12.wi.us/sports/. Games will be streamed online via Youtube and the link can be found at the address above.
Before approving the district’s spectator restrictions, board member Steve Goulette asked how seating would be controlled. Realistically, it would not be possible to make sure families stayed in one group, Fjelstad said, but added there would not be a students section where students would gather.
Board member Barb Reisner thought the plan sounded good and was a compromise between those who might say no fans should be allowed and those who wanted games open to all.
While some may cite other, non-restricted events as reason why games should be open to the public, superintendent Mark Johnson said it is unfair to compare school events to other events. If an outbreak occurs and school gets shut down, no games will be held at all. The school could only control their events and they were tying to find a balance between allowing spectators and maintaining the games, he said.
Fjelstad added it was finding a balance between risk and opportunity for athletes and spectators.