Wolf relaxes restrictions on fans in stands at school sports
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The administration of Gov. Tom Wolf on Wednesday moved to relax restrictions on spectators at some fall sporting events, though attendance might be impossible at high school volleyball and water polo, and difficult for football, because of statewide limits on mass gatherings.
The revised guidance says that “spectators may attend sporting events,” but they count toward the statewide gathering limits of 25 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.
Spectators must wear masks, unless they’re outside and can consistently maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet (2 meters), the Wolf administration said.
Wolf has urged schools to cancel all youth sports until January to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. But the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, the governing body for Pennsylvania interscholastic sports, voted last month to move forward with the fall season, rejecting the governor’s recommendation.
PIAA spokesperson Melissa Mertz said the organization is in “full support of spectators attending contests” but remains concern about the 25-person limit for indoor events, saying it negativity impacts girls volleyball and water polo.
Attendance at high school football games would be limited, too, though the PIAA said it’s likely that parents could go.
“Schools might have to be creative if they have large teams, bands and cheerleaders,” Mertz said.
In other coronavirus-related developments in Pennsylvania on Wednesday:
STATE HOUSE: LET KIDS REPEAT YEAR
The state House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill to give parents more power to let their children repeat a year of schooling if they feel their child didn’t get the education they needed or missed out on extracurricular activities amid the pandemic.
The bill passed, 197-5. However, it does not include interscholastic athletics.
Currently, schools and parents make a joint decision as to when a student can repeat, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Fulton, has said. But Topper said his legislation gives that sole decision-making power to the parents.
Meanwhile, the House also approved legislation to give a school district or private school sole authority to decide whether to conduct sports, including games and scrimmages, and other in-person extracurricular activities during the 2020-21 school year. The vote was 155-47.
The House also failed to override Wolf’s veto of a resolution to end his emergency disaster declaration in connection with the pandemic.
The vote was 118-84, or 16 votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary to override a veto. The Senate has not tried to override the veto. Both chambers must override the veto for the resolution to take effect.
Gettysburg College is quarantining its entire student body because of a spike in COVID-19 infections.
More than 20 students have tested positive since Sunday, the college said, with most of the cases connected to “certain affinity groups or social gatherings.”
All students must remain in their dorm rooms for the remainder of the week, except to pick up food, use the bathroom or get a virus test. All classes will be taught remotely. Students caught breaking quarantine will be “required to leave campus and return home,” the school said.