A recent change in the USD 348 school district’s policy allows for family and other fans to attend school sporting events. The school board came to the decision on Sept. 15.
The number of fans allowed to attend is limited to “four per participant,” although that number is liable to change depending on the space available where the event is being held. In gyms or other indoor spaces, there will be a limited capacity so that proper social distancing can be maintained. Fans are also required to wear face masks while attending.
“There are plenty of risks right now,” Grossoehme said, “but I think the enforcement of masks and the number of fans allowed to events is a safe way to allow spectators. This is a very tricky time, but I’m very thankful for the school doing everything they can to keep us safe while trying to keep life as normal as possible.”
The school board has not yet reached a decision on whether or not sports activities will continue if the school is moved into the orange zone.
Baker University’s policy does not allow fans to attend events held at Liston Stadium.
“All of this could change at a moment’s notice if we start having compliance issues or an outbreak within our teams,” Baldwin athletics director Gary Stevanus said. “Please be vigilant in our current procedures of masking, distancing and hygiene.”
Coaches, too, are very excited about the school board’s policy change.
“I feel like the school took steps in the right direction to keep kids safe,” Baldwin football head coach David Bowen said, “and also to allow parents to attend games.”
“I was glad to see the board change their mind on allowing fans and it has made the games a more enjoyable experience,” soccer coach Ryan Cox said. “I know the boys have enjoyed it, especially having their fans there to cheer them on.”
While competition is a substantial component of sports, the lack of a crowd deprives the game of the energy and passion that makes it so enjoyable for both the athletes and the fans.
“As a senior and 4-year athlete, I have always appreciated the support of the students and fans when competing,” senior football player Teagan Troute said. “Hearing the crowd and the atmosphere plays into the momentum and energy of the game.”
“I think allowing fans is what makes the night,” senior Jasmine Renyer said. “Not having fans makes the night quiet and you have to create your own energy to feed off of. Being on the court with your student section being loud with you is the best feeling.”