PAYETTE — Gov. Brad Little’s move to roll the state of Idaho back to stage two of its reopening plan came with modifications to ensure no business closures occurred. However, it comes with restrictions on how many spectators can attend sporting events in the Gem State … a maximum of 10 people.
Based on this news, the Snake River Valley Athletic Conference is not allowing any spectators at contests within its school districts.
To understand how these developments impacts local high school sporting events, the newspaper reached out to local school districts to find out how they plan to work around stage two restrictions.
Following is a sample of responses from school officials.
At the Payette School District, Superintendent Robin Gilbert emphasized that the conference’s decision not to allow spectators at games can act as a lesson in coping with circumstances beyond one’s control.
“We can all be disappointed to not be able to attend an event and watch our athletes, but it is better than canceling the season for the athlete. Again, athletes will handle it fine. It is a fact that we take and move on,” said Gilbert.
The no-spectator rule is in effect until further notice, according to a notice to families on the Payette School District website.
Gilbert also pointed out that Pirate fans can still watch from home on game days.
“We have the Pixellot system for viewing which is listed on [an announcement to students and families]. We had the equipment installed last year prior to COVID.”
Weiser School District Superintendent Wade Wilson stated that while the state allows up to 10 people at athletic contests, the conference decided it would be impossible to make it fair for all wishing to attend.
“The SRV has decided not to allow any fans as opposed to trying to decide which 10 get to attend,” said Wilson. “I have not received much feedback from parents at this point, but I understand that some are not happy with the situation, which is easily understood. Many parents want to have the opportunity to watch and cheer for their child. It is a difficult situation.”
Unlike Payette, Weiser High does not have Pixellot installed. But officials were able to find a man with a webcam, said Wilson.
“We are very fortunate as we have a local media outlet, Alex Chavarria of livinginthenews.com, who is willing to livestream as many events as he can get to, so that parents and patrons will be able to watch games from home - free of charge.”
Wilson urges families to do their part to help control the spread of COVID-19 so spectators cam return to games:
“We hope to do everything that we can to help move out of Stage 2 as soon as possible. It is certainly our desire to be able to continue holding activities and get fans back in the stands as soon as possible. It will continue to take all of our efforts to change conditions in our area and around our state.”
New Plymouth High School Athletic Director Dallan Rupp said his athletics are allowing the maximum 10 spectators allowed under stage two. New Plymouth is part of the Western Idaho Athletic Conference.
Rupp said each athlete is given the chance to bring one guest to each competition.
So far, Rupp says he hasn’t gotten much feedback on the matter.
“I would assume that reactions are varied from person to person. I tell them that it is out of my control. The order is from the governor’s office and we are following their recommendations.”
Representatives from Fruitland School District did not respond to requests for comment before press time.