Flathead County released its guidelines for high school and middle school activities programs on Tuesday afternoon.
For purposes of athletic events and activities, the School District of the home team is deemed to be the sponsor of the activity and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements by all in attendance, including both the home team and the visiting team. The aim of the plan is to mitigate and manage the range of risks associated with school sports and activities, while acknowledging that there will likely be cases of COVID-19 associated with these activities.
Flathead County will allow fans, but only two home team spectators per participant in uniform will be allowed at an event for football, volleyball and soccer. All fans must wear and mask and must maintain a six-foot social distance (family units/households exempt.) Visiting fans will not be allowed at events, except if the home team is hosting a Flathead County school. The visiting Flathead County school would also be allowed two tickets per athlete.
There will also be sideline/bench area limits for games this fall. Football will be limited to 60 participants per sideline. All other activities will be limited to team and essential personnel only. Cheerleaders will be allowed as long as social distanced from participants, but no marching bands will be allowed during games. All participants will be screened prior to participation in games. In an effort to reduce the number of athletes subject to quarantine should one member become positive for COVID-19, coaches should make reasonable efforts to reduce intermixing of groups by having small groups do practice drills together, use weight rooms and social distance on the sidelines during games.
A line list will be created each game consisting of players, coaches, trainers, referees, etc. in attendance for contact tracing purposes. Teams should not rely on just the roster alone due to potential absences of player or staff. Close contact is defined by any individual who was within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting two days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, two days prior to positive specimen collection.)
There are to be COVID-19 practices for transportation, including the bus staff wearing masks, have sneeze guards, disinfectant wipe, sanitizers, safety face shields, etc. Other COVID-19 practices for transportation outlined in the release, which was a collaborative effort by the Flathead City-County Health Department and Flathead County high school activity directors.
- All riders will be pre-screened prior to loading.
- Assign seats. A seating chart will be kept for all trips.
- Reducing bus loads and alternate seating assignments when feasible.
- Buses will load from the rear of the bus forward and exit from the front of the bus to the back.
- Buses are sanitized after every trip with students -- a.m., p.m. and event trips.
- Students will exit the bus and enter the school/event site immediately.
- Students will exit the school/event site and enter the bus immediately.
- Students will wear face coverings per school district protocols.
- Review and monitor parent pick-up areas outside of schools to encourage social distancing.
- Parents will be encouraged to remain in their vehicle during drop-off and pick-up, reducing the congregation of groups outside of school buildings.
As it pertains to overnight trips, Flathead County schools have suspended all overnight trips until further notice, with the exception of postseason play.
Flathead County schools will not offer concessions until further notice. If/when concessions are offered, workers will be assigned times. They must also be masked and gloved at all times, will be limited to only handling money or only handling concession goods. A list of individuals working each shift will be kept for contact tracing purposes.
There are requirements for facilities and equipment, too, as everyone in attendance must be masked unless physically participating in activity. All facilities and equipment will be sanitized following use, while coaches are responsible for sanitizing all equipment with disinfectant before, during and after each practice and competition.
In practices and locker rooms, athletes and coaches must be masked at all times and lockers will be spread out as much as possible. Athletes will be encouraged to shower at home and leave the locker room as soon as possible. Showers, if absolutely necessary (i.e. an athlete going straight to work from practice) will be limited to one athlete per shower tree or individualized shower stall.