Football returns to Jacksonville High School tonight, but the COVID-19 pandemic is still taking a toll on just who can attend games.
Attendance restrictions are beginning to ease for high school sports in Illinois, however, the new guidelines are still keeping most fans away, even in outdoor settings.
Athletic Director for Jacksonville High School Ryan Van Aken says even though athletic facilities can now have a 25% capacity of fans in attendance, it’s not the same 25% of what is normally in the stands.
“And that’s the issue, it’s not just capacity number, it’s seats that are available still with the spacing of six feet in between the next person. The new guidance came out within the schools that allows up to three feet, that has not been allowed for spectating events outside of the school day.
We received that confirmation from Craig Anderson with the IHSA to our conference that it is still six feet between. So it limits you a little bit in that regard. So it’s not necessarily a direct number 25% of your capacity, it’s what can you get within your seats of that 25%.”
No tickets will be sold to the general public. Football players, cheerleaders, and band members will each be given three tickets. Visiting players will be allotted two tickets each.
Van Aken says it’s unfortunate that only a limited number of fans can attend, but in the long run he is glad the games are at least able to be played.
“We would love to have as many fans there as possible but we have to stay within the regulations. That’s something our school district has done from day one. It’s allowed us to stay open the whole school year. Following the mitigations and we will continue to do so. Anytime those mitigations change, we change with them.
So we are looking for a brighter future but we are doing what we can now to at least have these games and get as many people as we can and hope for continued better numbers leading to more fan attendance as we move forward.”
Beginning Monday, the increased attendance allowances will cause a move for the volleyball team as games will now shift to the JHS Bowl to allow for more fans in attendance. Opposing volleyball teams will now be allowed two fans per player as well. No general admission tickets will be sold.