Bay City masking

Staff photo by Albert Villegas

Wharton Tigers senior Harvells Brown played in front of Bay City fans during a home game last week.

Wharton and Boling school districts are following along with the University Interscholastic League’s (UIL) Risk Mitigation Guidelines that were released earlier this month.

The UIL released these guidelines in response to photos officials have seen of high school fans of all ages during UIL football games from Aug. 27-29.

According to the UIL, all school districts received the guidelines through assistance with the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

Officials from Wharton ISD and Boling ISD responded.

“We of course are abiding by all UIL guidelines including 50% capacity,” BISD Superintendent Wade Stidevent said.

He alluded to pre-game guidelines that are made during pre-game and spot announcing throughout the game. As of press time, the Boling Bulldogs have played one game at home. They played at Van Vleck, Aug. 28, and they’re at Danbury Friday, Sept. 18. Some Boling fans were photographed in Van Vleck not wearing masks.

Stidevent said BISD would continue to urge fans to wear masks. It appears to have worked when Boling hosted East Bernard.

The spots Stidevent spoke about pertain to all school districts.

So, if you hear the following: “This game is being conducted according to the rules and regulations of the University Interscholastic League. This facility is also following COVID-19 risk mitigation guidelines as recommended by the UIL and state authorities,” it is for a good reason.

Announcements are aimed at spectators to help slow the spread of COVID-19, according to the UIL and TEA.

You will hear the following: “Wearing a face covering at all times unless consuming food or drink; maintaining at least six feet of distancing at all times from other groups and individuals outside your household; washing or sanitizing your hands often and avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.”

Stacey Pierson, Wharton ISD assistant superintendent of administration added the following: “Wharton ISD has planned to continue to host UIL athletic events in accordance with CDC, UIL, TEA, and the LEA guidance on facilities and patron attendance. We have implemented the following guidelines that will be identified.”

According to WISD, temperatures will be taken of everyone in attendance. (UIL/TEA recommended those with temps of 100 degrees not be admitted, WISD has implemented at the more strict policy of 99 degrees); UIL/TEA has recommended 50% capacity. WISD stadiums hold 3500 (1500 visitors/2000 home); WISD has added additional staff to help police and monitor expectations.

“We have allowed less than 50% capacity in the stadium. (705 visitors including spirit group – 1,040 home excluding spirit groups,” Pierson said. “We have also employed a safety committee Chair by the Director of Athletics.”

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