Hillsborough, North Carolina – Additional fans will be allowed to attend upcoming Orange County Schools sporting events.
On Monday, school board members voted to allow each site to operate up to 50% of its capacity, depending on the size of the site. Guests should always be physically distanced and wear masks.
School board members also voted to continue without discount sales.
Ahead of Monday’s vote, parents in Orange County lobbied to allow more spectators at sporting events. Previous COVID-19 protocols within the school district only allowed two fans per athlete.
“It is difficult for us to find two spectators for our families, but I recognize that this is a global pandemic, and I am ready to make a small sacrifice for our family to encourage the health of our community. Said parent Elizabeth Raines.
On September 13, members of the school board adopted a motion require athletes to wear masks on and off the field regardless of their immunization status and limit two fans per athlete.
Parent Jeff Young said the current spectator limit prevents her child’s grandmother from seeing her play the sport she loves most – volleyball.
âWe think spectators should definitely be allowed in Orange County schools,â Young said. “It’s hard to digest when you have 55,000 people in Keenan [Memorial] Stadium and even school districts [like] The Chapel Hill-Carrboro school district in this county has an unlimited number of spectators. That this county limits us doesn’t seem fair overall. “
At the September 13 board meeting, staff at Orange County schools requested a two-week break from competitive football, basketball, wrestling and cheerleading. Staff requested a break while working on new protocols for high-risk sports, including vaccination statuses and testing capabilities.
âYou have to balance the safety of children, but you have to think about their physical and mental health. You have to make changes. It is impossible to be 100% safe. If you want to do this, the best thing to do is sitting at home all the time and it’s impractical, âsaid Karthik Raghunathan.
The new spectator rules will come into effect from Tuesday.