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Danville will limit number of fans at football games

The athletic plan for Danville schools during September includes how many spectators can attend games, ticket sales and how many games a week can be played at the middle and high school levels during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the special called meeting Tuesday, Danville Schools Superintendent Dr. Tammy McDonald and Athletics Director Lisa Fisher presented specific guidelines from Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s Stage 3 for teams returning to competition. Their recommendations were also approved by the Boyle County Health Department.

The board decided to “phase in” spectators at home games beginning with 20% capacity at each competition, McDonald said. Families of athletes on varsity teams would be prioritized, she said.

For the football team, each athlete will be allowed four tickets at home games, and two tickets per student-athlete on the visiting team roster.

Student athletes, coaches, trainers, volunteers, and all other personnel needed to host a home game are not counted in the capacity figures.

For example, at full capacity the Danville stadium is 4016. At 20% capacity that figure is 800. Therefore the DHS football team is estimated to receive 312 tickets while the visiting team will be allotted 150 tickets.

The DHS gym capacity is about 2000, so at 20% capacity, which is 400, the volleyball home team will be allotted about 100 tickets and the visiting team will be allowed about 50 tickets.

DHS soccer field can accommodate approximately 1,000 spectators. At 20% capacity (200), the home team will be allotted about 110 tickets and the visiting team will be given about 55 tickets, according to information shared by McDonald.

Admission to games will be reduced from $6 to $5 for this year only, so that spectators can drop $5 into a container without having change returned by direct contact with the ticket seller. Bate admission will remain at $3.

Spectators will be required to have their temperature taken before entering the games and wearing facial masks and social distancing will be required.

The Boyle County Health Department has approved that concession stands can be open but sell only prepackaged items. Markings will be placed on the ground near the order window reminding fans to stay six feet apart.

Double headers will be allowed but triple headers will not.

In its previous meeting, the board voted to allow middle school basketball teams to play only one game per week. However on Tuesday, Fisher told the board that one game a week didn’t permit a full basketball conference schedule to be played. She recommended, and the board agreed that middle school teams be allowed to schedule two games per week.

For away games, “Transportation will be a challenge,” McDonald said. Not only is the district severely limited to the number of bus drivers willing to drive for students’ extracurricular activities, the KHSAA had just changed its policy for the number of students per bus for distancing purposes.

“We may have to ask parents to drive to games with their players,” she said. “We were not expecting that.”

COVID-19 testing is required of all coaches, coaching staff, trainers, volunteers and athletes,” before they can participate in competition, McDonald said.

“We need a baseline for everyone involved,” said board chair Steve Becker.

Danville Pediatrics has partnered with the Danville school district to provide health services to all students this year. It’s also administering the COVID test free of charge to every student. However, some parents prefer to use their own health care provider Becker said. In those cases, the parent will be responsible for getting the test result to the proper school official and for any charge that they may incur.

Random testing will take place throughout the season.

Becker said he hopes other school districts are following the same rigorous precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that Danville has set up.

Fisher replied, “They’re trying their best.”

Becker said allowing team competitions to take place between school districts is the first step in “getting our kids back to in-person learning.”