Perrysburg High School sports must take precautions to stay safe
In the darkness of Covid-19, Perrysburg High School finds light in their sporting programs.
Prior to the start of the school year, fall sport athletes did not know if they would have a season or if attendees could go to their games or matches. But, Perrysburg has always taken pride in their sporting events, especially the “Swarm” student section. In order to have these sports take place, Perrysburg must follow COVID-19 guidelines including mask wearing, social distancing, limited fan capacity, and lots of sanitation.
Chuck Jaco, Perrysburg’s athletic director, explained the hoops he and his coworkers had to jump through to make this fall season happen. Jaco worked alongside the OIAAA (Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association) and other state athletic directors. Jaco said that it was a joint effort but the final decision on fall sports was ultimately up to the governor and state legislature.
In addition to the guidelines listed above, buying tickets was a different process this year. Parents of the athletes and cheerleaders get reserved tickets. On football Friday mornings, a ticket code goes out to the seniors and then to rest of Perrysburg High School students. The remaining tickets go on sale to the public. This process has to happen to ensure they do not go over the 15% capacity or 795 people mark.
Once fans arrive to games, social distancing in the stands is crucial and enforced. Parts of the stands are marked off to make sure that groups are six feet apart. For people who ride in the same car together, no more than four are allowed to sit next to each other. The last rule that these football games have to follow is that everyone who enters must be wearing a mask and are required to be worn throughout the entire game.
Soccer games and volleyball matches follow similar guidelines as football games. Along with Steinecker Stadium, the gym also has limited capacity- 15% or 300 people. Social distance is also required in the stands as well as mask-wearing the entire match or game.
For Aubrey Ardnt, a player on the varsity volleyball team, people are most important. She said she would not want to play with anyone other then her teammates, and wouldn’t want to spend any other day with any other team.
Ardnt said COVID has not affected her team’s bonding skills.
“Our team is already super close, but we bond in the gym because we never know when it could be our last practice/game, so we don’t take anything for granted” Ardnt said.
COVID specific rules for tennis matches differ from the other sports. Two spectators are allowed to attend per athlete, close family or parents only. Because of this rule, the tennis teams are not selling tickets to the public. Parents of the athletes sit alongside the court, sometimes sitting in lawn chairs. Bleachers are not in use at the matches. A commonality tennis does share with the other sporting events, is required mask wearing.
Athletes are not required to wear masks while physically moving. They are required to wear their masks on the sidelines, on the bench and when they are in a time period of waiting.
Jaco said that there has “never been a more challenging year, but it has all been worth it to see the students’ hard work pay off.”
Fearing he might get a call about an outbreak, Jaco feels anxiety but also feels a sense of comfort. According to Jaco, it is a privilege to be able to host sporting events, and have the student body be able to partake in their seasons in these crazy COVID-19 times.
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