Athletics: Minnesota Department of Education issues updated guidance on spectators for indoor events
Using information released today by the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota State High School League updated member schools with information for spectators of indoor activities to align with the MDE guidance. Under the MDE revised guidance, two fans per participant will be allowed to attend indoor events. Prior to the updated guidance, no spectators were allowed.
The updated guidance is effective immediately, but member schools will determine implementation plans for their events. Member schools do have the option of implementing stricter guidelines.
MDE continues to stress that sporting events are high risk for COVID-19 transmission and are further high risk for activities that promote airborne particles of COVID-19.
The newly-released guidelines apply to all indoor sports, concerts, plays, competitions, performances, and any other similar events that have spectators. The guidance is specific to events that take place in a school building or facility where instruction takes place. Events held at these facilities must abide by the following parameters:
Each team/group at an indoor event is allowed up to a total allocation of two spectators per participant. Consistent with other Stay Safe guidance, spectators must be separated by at least six feet between households/spectator groups and event spaces cannot exceed 25 percent of total capacity.
For indoor events where 12 feet cannot be maintained between participants and spectators, participants must be included in the total capacity count. If spectators and participants can be clearly separated by at least 12 feet, then participants do not need to be included in the total capacity count. No venue may exceed a capacity of 250 spectators.
In some situations, small venues may only allow for an allocation of one spectator or less per participant, depending on the size of the venue. Spectators are only allowed at official competitions or events. If the participants are young children that may need adult support to dress, use the restroom, or otherwise participate in a practice or rehearsal, each participant may have one support person attend. If a participant has a medical need for additional adult support, then that support person is allowed at practices or rehearsals.
School districts and charter schools must require advanced reservations and/or ticketing (electronic or will call). Walk-up sales will not be allowed. The gathering of names, phone numbers and/or email addresses must be collected as part of the reservation so that quick notification can be done if an individual develops COVID-19.
Schools must schedule arrival times for longer than their typical duration to minimize the congregation of spectators waiting. They must establish staggered admission times, entry times and durations to minimize overlap and congregating of spectators at access points, security check points, admission areas, concession areas, etc.
“School-based activities and athletics are an incredible experience for our students and we are excited that a limited number of family members will now be able to share in the experience of indoor activities, games and contests; we appreciate all that our member schools are doing in managing the academics and activities in this pandemic,” League Executive Director Erich Martens said. “This updated guidance is important in providing additional direction for our schools and their activities programs in how to administer spectators indoors. At the same time, it will be incredibly important that all spectators and participants follow all of the MDE and MDH safety guidance and protocols in working to keep everyone involved as safe as possible.”
Ensuring the safety of students and other event participants is the top priority of the Minnesota State High School League. The League continues to support member schools with updated guidance and information while continually working in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Education to provide the safest experiences possible.