RIVER FALLS — High school athletic events will limit spectators and require distancing this fall in the interest of reducing the spread of coronavirus.

School Board on Tuesday, Sept. 8, approved a list of spectator rules for home games at River Falls High School and Ramer Field, including a two-ticket-per-athlete policy for family members.

Among the restrictions are:

  • Only parents and guardians of home-team athletes will be allowed into games for volleyball, football, cross-country and swimming, though away parents may be permitted to watch varsity football games if Ramer Field is available.
  • Parents from both schools will be allowed for tennis and golf competitions.
  • Spectators are asked to arrive no earlier than 15 minutes prior to the competition and leave immediately after the game.

There will be no concessions or fees collected, according to the policy.

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The district looked at a number of spectator options and the administration believes its plan would allow for proper distancing, Superintendent Jamie Benson said.

If rules aren’t followed, Benson cautioned, it would be recommended for School Board to ban spectators entirely.

“We’re emphasizing that point to say you can’t make rules and then not follow the rules,” he said.

Board members were presented a document from Pierce County Public Health that, while recommending against spectators at sporting events, provides safety guidelines for districts to follow.

“If physical distance is not consistently maintained and a COVID-19 case attends a sporting event, a public announcement of the exposure should be expected,” according to the health department document.

  • Read the full policy in the Sept. 8, 2020, Special Board Meeting agenda (link is external)

School Board voted on Aug. 24 to allow fall sports to continue under several safety measures amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The earliest dates for high school competition are Sept. 15 for volleyball and soccer, and Sept. 23 for football.

As of the Sept. 8 board meeting, there were 64 student absences in River Falls School District due to pending test results, pending test results for a family member or close contact with a non-school related positive COVID-19 case, according to a staff report.

Here are the sport-specific restrictions for spectators:

Volleyball

Parents will be assigned a two-person spot around the upper track to either stand at the rail or sit. They will be required to enter and exit using the same door nearest to their spectating spot. The bleachers will not be set up.

Soccer

Parents will be directed to watch from the bleachers, designated spots 10 yards outside the end zones or in standing-room areas along the fence. Parents will be asked to bring their own lawn chairs.

Football (JV and freshman)

Junior varsity and freshman games will be played on the high school field with spectator areas set up the same as soccer.

Football (varsity)

Varsity football could be played at Ramer Field or the high school based on availability. Tickets will indicate which of four gates can be used to enter. There will be a cap of 100 spectators with preference given to parents of seniors and juniors.