January 17, 2021

More spectators allowed at Newton home games

LHC updates health guidance to grant admission all household members for student athletes

Student athletes’ family members that were prohibited from spectating home games in Little Hawkeye Conference (LHC) events this past semester are now allowed to attend in-person, Newton Community School District Activities Director Ryan Rump said Monday.

“We’re going to grant admission to household members, plus other individuals, that student athletes may have that want to come to the game,” Rump told school board members during their first meeting of the New Year. “We’re thinking of family members that maybe had been shutout due to the earlier guidelines.”

On Tuesday, Jan. 12 the Newton school district allowed all household members to attend home games.

However, admission is still somewhat limited.

According to LHC’s guidance, the individuals that student athletes want to bring to games is up to the school’s discretion. Vouchers for entry will no longer be required for both visiting and home team spectators. Players’ household members will be listed at the entry gate.

Lower-level and middle school attendance will still be a local decision based on gym size at each campus. School districts must determine the number of students able to attend events at home. Visiting teams will still not have student sections at games.

Away game admission protocols will remain the same, Rump said. Only household members or two individuals to be checked in at the gate will be allowed in when Newton teams are the visiting school district.

LHC also recommends students only attend away games if they are an active participant, a household member of another player or are checked in with another individual. Rump said staff is talking about “allowing some students to attend,” which is inevitably up to individual school districts.

“I’ll be meeting this week a little bit more with Mr. (Bill) Peters and Mr. (Tom) Messinger,” Rump said. “We’ve talked some today about some possible different strategies and different things we were thinking to potentially give the opportunity for some students to attend.”

Rump said Newton would start “at a very low number,” possibly 25-30 students.

“We’re not even quite sure how we’re going to select the students that can come to the games,” he said. “But we will have those discussions this week, and that’s something that we’ve talked about allowing.”

Cheerleaders and dance teams are permitted by the LHC and will therefore have a list of household members as well. At this time, pep bands are still unable to attend or perform music at games.

Social distancing rules still apply at games. LHC requires a six-foot distance be maintained between non-family groups at all times, including cheerleaders and dance team members. Visitors must also be “properly masked” at all times.

“We just can’t lift all restrictions and let anybody that wants to come to the game come to the game because there’s no way we can ensure that we could then social distance properly either,” Rump said. “We’re trying to keep all these things in mind and I guess juggle all these balls that are up in the air.”

All games will continue to be streamed for online viewers.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com