Starting Thursday, high school fans can attend home-team contests

Meadowdale’s Styles DuBois runs around the left side on a quarterback keeper during the Mavs’ contest vs. Shorewood March 6. (File photo by Scott Williams)

After a year of being sidelined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local high school sports fans will be able to watch their home teams play starting this Thursday, March 18.

Following Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement last week that all counties in Washington state are moving to Phase 3, athletic directors of the Wesco League — which includes the Edmonds School District — have approved a plan to allow home team spectators to attend Wesco high school athletic contests as of March 18.

Under the approved plan, only home-team spectators will be allowed to attend. Each individual school district and school will determine its own logistics and number of spectators. Schools will continue to live stream events to accommodate visiting fans and those home fans who choose not to attend

Under the governors announcement and clarification from the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the following restrictions are in place for Phase 3 high school spectator attendance.

• For outdoor facilities with permanent seating of up to 1,600 spectators, schools may operate at 50% capacity or a maximum of 400 people, whichever is fewer.

• For outdoor facilities with permanent seating for more than 1,600 spectators, schools may operate at 25% capacity.

• Physical distancing requirements of 6 feet of separation must be maintained in all seating arrangements, which may limit the capacity number further than the guidelines listed.

• Phase 3 outdoor guidelines indicate that participants, officials, coaches and staff do not count toward the capacity restrictions as they did in Phases 1 and 2

• Indoor activities in Phase 3 may have up to 400 individuals at an event or at 50% capacity, whichever is fewer. For indoor activities, participants, coaches, officials, and staff do still count toward the capacity restrictions.

Under Phase 2 rules, fans had not been allowed to attend sporting events “in order to put the focus on creating a safe and functional environment for our student-athletes and coaches,” the Wesco announcement said. “Now that schools have some experience in hosting events, we are excited to be able to welcome our home spectators in a limited capacity.”

Since each Wesco school district and facilities are unique, specifics for total numbers and which home fans will be able to attend will be determined at the local level, the announcement said. Each district anticipates receiving guidance from their local risk management groups and the Department of Health as part of the implementation process.

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