Alpine School District officials have completed spectator protocols for the upcoming fall high school sports season, and Lehi principal Doug Webb and Skyridge principal Joel Perkins have been serving on the committee which drafted the new rules.
Called the “Return to Play” plan, spectator attendance will be limited to 25% of predetermined venue capacity for ticketed events, and all seats will be assigned.
All tickets must be purchased in advance, either through the electronic VNN system or out of the main office. There will be no ticket sales at the gate for any event.
Attendees at events without admission charges will still be required to secure a no-cost ticket in advance. Parents of participating athletes will be given priority codes for ticket purchases.
Spectators must also read and accept a guidelines and expectations form before they’ll be allowed to purchase tickets.
The Spectator Agreement Form specifies that spectators are required to wear face coverings at all ASD events for the duration and that games may be delayed or suspended for non-compliance.
In addition, spectators will be expected to maintain physical social distancing whenever possible and to skip attending events if they are exhibiting any symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have recently been in close contact with someone who has the virus.
They also assume all risks of possible exposure in group settings.
“One of the things we want to avoid is a crowd coming expecting to buy tickets at the gate,” said Mike May, ASD athletic director. “Anyone who attempts to enter an event without a ticket will be turned away.”
There are also contingency plans in place if schools must be closed again, even for the short term.
“All of these extracurricular activities are based on face-to-face school,” May said. “If all learning returns to the online pattern as it did in the spring, we can’t have extracurricular activities.”
Administrators have acknowledged that not everyone who wants to attend an event is going to be able to do so, and they have planned for access via live streaming.
“We are pleased to announce that all ASD football stadiums and main gyms have been equipped with cameras in conjunction with the NFHS Network,” said Jeff Schoonover, ASD secondary supervisor.
“These cameras are designed to follow the ball, and broadcasts can include live announcing and local advertisements if desired,” he continued. “This is the first year we’re trying it.”
The NFHS Network is a subscription-based service that streams high school events all across the country. Two plans are available: $10.99 billed monthly with cancellation anytime, or $69.99 for an annual pass, which breaks down to $5.83 per month.
“We’re hoping this will help our patrons to enjoy the games they would like to see even if they can’t attend in person because of the present situation,” Schoonover said.
Officials from the Canyons, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Salt Lake City and Provo school districts have agreed to apply the same standards in their districts unless or until local conditions require adjustments.
The guidelines were developed with directions from the Governor’s Utah Leads Together plan and in conjunction with the Utah County Health Department.
“This plan is designed to get us up and going for this fall,” Schoonover said. “Obviously, we’ll continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed throughout the school year.”
Schoonover said venue capacity will be determined by administrators at each school. They will also decide how many spots will be available for visiting fans and will provide that number to officials at the visiting school for ticket sale maximums.