High School Football Seasons Kick Off Amid Pandemic
Utah, Indiana, Alabama, Tennessee, North Dakota, and South Dakota have all held live, full-tackle high school football while nine other states have pushed their football season to 2021.The start of the high school football season began with Utah, which is two weeks into their regular-season schedules. The other states began their seasons over the weekend, with the likes of 200 teams taking the field in Indiana for the first Friday Night Lights of the year.
And, according to various reports, while the scene offered a sense of normalcy in the Hoosier State, it was far from a normal game day experience. Players were told to stay by their designated orange cones along the sideline, spectators had to stay in the outlined spaces on the bleachers to maintain a social distance, and the PA announcers regularly reminded those in attendance to wear masks.
In Alabama, schools have already come under fire for students who have not followed the guidelines in their first games of the season. According to a report form ABC3340, Tuscaloosa County (AL) High School issued a statement on the issue.
These photos were taken last night at a Tuscaloosa County football game. There appeared to be little concern for masks or social distancing guidelines.
— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) August 21, 2020
“We had groups of students who were not socially distanced and did not wear their masks, so I investigated that and spoke to the principal who says he told them numerous times throughout the game to put their mask on, but we’re dealing with teenagers and although they put the mask on while he was there, they took them off,” said Dr.Keri Johnson, Tuscaloosa County Schools Superintendent, according to the report.
In the Volunteer State, as many as 120 games were played during the state’s opening high weekend. The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) modified its sports regulations to include temperature check requirements for players, coaches, and fans, proper screening questions to gauge any COVID-19 symptoms, and limiting fans to allow for social distancing, according to a report from Fox17 WZTV Nashville.
Other states like Idaho, Alaska, Wyoming, Iowa, Ohio, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas have start dates for football in August while 16 more states have plans for a September or October state date for the sport.