TO: Superintendents, Principals, and Athletic Directors FROM: Steve Savarese, Executive Director AHSAA
DATE: August 26, 2020
REF: Spectators/fans attending athletic events
First, and foremost, I want to personally thank each of you for doing everything possible to comply with the Governor’s Safer at Home Order and the Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPH) State Health Order while hosting athletic events during this unprecedented health crisis. Last week, over 35,000 student-athletes had an opportunity to participate in fall sports and bring some sense of normalcy back to their lives. However, we acknowledge there were issues related to the current health order compliance. If we want to continue providing athletic opportunities for our students and have spectators attend our events, I am asking you to continue communicating proactively with all stakeholders the importance of ADPH compliance. I truly understand the challenges and difficulties of enforcing the guidelines within the Order, but we have seen some great examples of schools successfully planning and implementing strategies that provide a safe, compliant environment for athletes and spectators.
As a reminder,
- In accordance with the Current State Health Order (paragraph 11.b and c) spectators are allowed to attend athletic events, but attendance at events should be reduced significantly so that spectators are not within 6 feet of someone from another household, and spectators shall wear a mask or other facial covering at all times while within six feet of a person from another household.
- Each school should determine the number of spectators/fans permitted to attend in accordance with local and state guidelines, policies, and mandated regulations. Each facility is different, and we are here to assist you as you plan for upcoming events.
- Individuals within groups including, but not limited to, reserved seating, student groups, alumni sections, etc. should always be 6 feet apart. Household members may sit together as a group but be 6 feet from others.
- Participants on the sidelines or benches who are not actively participating should be 6 feet apart and wearing face coverings. This includes, but is not limited to, coaches, managers, trainers, players, etc.
- Individuals “non-essential” to the contest should not be allowed on the sidelines or court.
- Schools are encouraged to make public announcements before and throughout the contest regarding the aforementioned guidelines. (PSA examples may be found at www.ahsaa.com under Covid-19 updates.)
Again, we understand the challenges you face, but failure to comply with these guidelines could increase Covid-19 cases within your community resulting in a more restrictive State Health Order, teams quarantined, or schools temporarily closed.
Because Alabama is one of the first states to begin fall sports, we are on “center-stage.” As most states begin fall athletics within the next few weeks, I am imploring you to be the example others can follow. Your dedication and commitment to this health-related mission will allow students to return to a sense of normalcy. Again, I know you face numerous challenges, but PLEASE, help us keep the narrative on the participants, not the spectators!
If you have any questions or need assistance with stadium capacities, please feel free to contact our office.
God bless you and thank you!