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Section VI To Allow Home-Team Spectators

Schools Will Begin Welcoming Limited Fans

WEST SENECA — Things are slowly getting back to normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That is trickling down to high school sports.

Earlier this winter, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Section VI voted to allow high school winter sports to resume without spectators.

Now, they’re adding in some fans.

The Section VI Executive Committee met Monday afternoon and voted to allow home schools the option of allowing up to two of their spectators, per athlete for the remainder of the winter season. The new policy goes into effect today. The section had committed to reviewing the “No Spectators” verdict at its last meeting on Jan. 28.

“As we stated late last month, it was our intent to review local data and trends this week,” said Brett Banker, Section VI president. “In addition, we surveyed all member schools in an effort to gauge their thoughts. It was clear that school districts supported a section-wide policy and that is what we have created.”

Locally, every school’s athletic director that responded to an email inquiry from The Post-Journal said they would be following the section’s directive.

Ben Drake, Jamestown athletic director, added that the district is still in the process of determining whether or not middle schools will be able to accommodate fans for modified games. Also, a determination for fans at swim meets may not be made until it is known how many student-athletes the visiting team will be bringing.

Shawn Huntington, Randolph’s athletic director, added a note about Senior Night for the Cardinals basketball programs. For girls Senior Night on March 18 and boys Senior Night on March 19, only senior families will be admitted so those student-athletes will be able to have more than two spectators present for the final home events.

In the sports of basketball and swimming, the host districts will have the prerogative to allow up to two home spectators per athlete. Since hockey, bowling and skiing are held at private businesses, the prevailing parameters at each facility will be followed. For instance, the majority of hockey facilities allow only one spectator per athlete.

“As a section we do not have the authority to override the protocols of private facilities, we are guests and, because of that, those standards will still apply,” Banker added.

“Each school district will be responsible for ensuring the health and safety of all spectators and participants in their buildings by requiring masks and enforcing social distancing.”

Schools have the autonomy to adjust down if they deem that the footprint of their facilities are insufficient to safely host two spectators from the host school for each athlete. It is clear from the survey that not all home sites can host spectators from both schools while following social distancing regulations.

“We realize that based on the differences in facilities and staffing across the section, we need to offer schools some flexibility to create protocols that work for them,” Banker said. “We are grateful for the support of our schools, school leaders, and the patience that so many have displayed. We’re all after the same thing.”

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