A Super Bowl ticket can be a hard find. Same for a ducat to The Masters golf tournament.
When high school basketball returns to action in late December, getting into a high school game may be just as difficult.
On Friday, the VHSL followed up previously announced protocols with a clarification of the definition of “participants versus spectators” in regard to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s amended executive order reducing the number of individuals allowed at high school athletic events. High school basketball, allowed to begin games with regular season competition starting December 21, will be the first major high school sport to test the waters.
Northam’s order reduced the number of spectators allowed at indoor and outdoor events from 250 to 25, not counting participants.
The VHSL quickly followed up with the definitions of each.
“The Governor’s order defines participants as “players, coaches, officials (including referees, scorers, announcers and clock operators), school event staff and administrators critical to the operation of the contests, media, law enforcement and medical staff and services.”
Additionally, “cheerleaders, pep bands and other student support groups “are counted as spectators in the limit of 25 allowed at events.
Local “Big-11” high schools are now determining how to address the pecking order on whom will be allowed to attend games, factoring in parents and family of players, cheerleaders and students from both teams, for the total of 25.
The VHSL also has indicated that schools are required by the Governor’s order to conduct screening of coaches, officials, players and staff for COVID-19 symptoms prior to admission to the venue/facility.
Outdoor events, such as track races or marathons, will be limited to 25 spectators per field, but may have up to 250 participants provided staggered starts separate runners into groups of 25 or less.
Many schools are already taking additional measures for basketball by reducing or eliminating altogether gym bleachers during games, as well as placing team benches for players, coaches and team managers in staggered rows of three on the opposite side of the court from spectators to provide for proper social distancing.