LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - High school sports will look different this fall thanks to the coronavirus. Many school districts that are conducting fall sports plan to follow the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s safety guidelines.
Amanda Herndon, head cheer coach for Spencer Middle and High Schools said her cheerleaders had their first game on Monday. Even though they have to wear masks during cheers and are not allowed to stunt, Herndon said they’re just happy to be back on the sidelines.
“They were thrilled (when they learned KHSAA approved sports),” Herndon said. “They sent me emojis, and they sent me screenshots of their facial expressions, and they were just absolutely ecstatic.”
This year, the stands will be filled at 20 percent capacity per KHSAA guidelines. In Bullitt and Hardin Counties, spectators must order tickets online ahead of the games, and parents and guardians will likely get first priority. Fans will be screened for the virus upon entry and will have to wear masks unless they are sitting outside with their families and socially distanced from other groups.
For Bullitt County sporting events, gate workers will take down every fan’s name and phone number for contact tracing should someone get sick. The district worked with the local health department to come up with a plan.
“We want to be able to put this back in our memory toolbox where we can go to sleep at night knowing that we did the best we possibly could,” Rachelle Bramlage-Schomburg, Bullitt County Schools Director of Secondary Education said, “Not only for our student-athletes but for our fans to enjoy some form of normalcy that we haven’t felt in a while.”
Hardin County Schools will not honor coach’s cards, lifetime passes, or similar general admissions tickets this fall.
“Some people will walk away upset,” John Wright, Hardin County Schools Director of Public Relations said, “Some people will be upset about the way we do things, just the situation in general, but we’re working hard to meet guidelines to ensure the safety and health of our student-athletes.”
School districts said even if all the guidelines are followed, they cannot fully prevent an athlete from getting sick. If a student-athlete tests positive for the virus, KHSAA guidelines require them to sit out for at least 10 days or until they feel better.
Herndon and her cheerleaders will continue to look for the positives in the situation.
“To me, it’s kind of brought us back to what I call old fashioned cheer. My cheerleaders on the sidelines truly rooting and cheering for their fellow athletes on the field,” Herndon said. We aren’t stunting, so we truly have to adjust and adapt and we’re doing that."
The Jefferson County Board of Education will vote on more details about fall sports during tonight’s meeting.