Chapin Varsity Football Game vs Lexington

Previous Chapin varsity football game vs. Lexington. Cola Daily file photo

Lexington-Richland School District Five officials announced Friday that new guidelines will be implemented for spectators at sporting events for the 2020-2021 school year. 

The district will follow the South Carolina High School League’s (SCHSL) guidelines for spectators and venues to account for COVID-19. This comes as the league was approved to host events with at least 250 spectators or 50% capacity, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce. Masks will be required in accordance with county ordinances.

“Our goal is to provide a safe environment for student-athletes and the community to enjoy our sporting events,” said Alvin Pressley, School District Five director of secondary education. “As part of the guidelines, we will require masks and social distancing at our sporting events, limit seating capacity in the stands as well as limit access to the sidelines to essential personnel only.”

According to district officials, masks will be required at school sports events. SCHSL permits the removal of masks for brief periods of time (i.e. eating and drinking, while social distancing practices are in place). SCHSL further states that mask removal should be for brief periods of time only. School District Five representatives said they believe that when staff and students wear masks, the spread of COVID-19 is significantly reduced. 

The district will also add cleaning and disinfecting protocols to be performed throughout the event and set up hand sanitizer stations at ticket windows, gate entrances, restrooms and throughout the venue. Seating will be blocked off to allow for social distancing. If social distancing guidelines are not followed, athletic events may be limited to 250 spectators for all remaining competitions.

Concession stands will follow CDC guidelines and will only offer pre-packaged drinks, foods and condiments to be sold.

The district will also keep the clear bag policy in place again this year.

Approved bags will include:

-Clear tote bag: plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6”x 12”.

-One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar).

-Small clutch bags no larger than 4.5" x 6.5" -- approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap.

Other safety measures for fall varsity events include:

-Utilizing metal detectors to screen spectators at varsity athletic events at Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo high schools.

-Bags (including clear bags) also will be subject to searches at designated entry points, in line with state statute permitting “reasonable search” of any person entering school premises.

-Admission will be charged prior to the game and throughout the duration until seating capacity is met.

-All students eighth grade or younger are required to attend games with parents or guardians.

-School resource officers also will travel with teams at away games.

Due to COVID-19 safety measures and event capacity limitations, seating for employee passholders, Golden Pass passholders and SCHSL passholders will be limited. Individuals with appropriate district and/or SCHSL passes will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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