CHS Senior Sports Nights This Week; Limited Parent/Guardian Attendance Permitted

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From Columbia High School Principal Frank Sanchez, October 6:

In just the first 5 weeks of this academic year, we have seen more than 30 school districts either halting in-person classes or suspending their sports program due to positive tests for the Coronavirus among students or staff. Because the safety of our students and community is our top priority, we have been conservative in our approach with our educational and athletic programs. In light of all of these things, we feel that we have made the correct decision in not allowing spectators at our sporting events.

This was a difficult decision because we understand how much our players want their friends and families to cheer them on as they compete athletically. We also know how hard this must be on parents who have been so devoted to their children, many who were also their child’s first coach in our own recreation program. Although we feel for both our students and parents, we still do not believe it is in the best interest of the health of our community to have full attendance at our sporting events.

Instead, we will allow Senior Night events to begin this week as part of a phase-in approach that will allow us to study how well we can accommodate spectators in the future. For now, Interim Athletic Director Mullen will be working with parent booster organizations and coaches to sponsor Senior Night events for each sport in which each family will receive two tickets for a sporting event held at Underhill and Ritzer Fields. Unfortunately, we will not have a student section, but we are still investigating the possibility of streaming games.

This addition to our COVID-protocols was made in concert with the District Office, Maplewood health officials, and building administrators. We feel comfortable that our parent community will abide by the following guidelines because we know you value the safety of our students and fellow residents. I do want to emphasize that since the Coronavirus situation is so fluid, we can revise this policy at any time. For now, we believe we can add these events and continue our safety-first approach.

Please continue reading to understand the Senior Night protocols that will take place moving forward. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out to Mr. Mullen in the Athletic Office or to me.

Sporting Events Protocols (As of 10/6/20):

  1. To stay safe from the Coronavirus, no Columbia High School students other than players will be allowed to attend live events at Underhill and Ritzer Fields

  2. As part of our phase-in plan, parents and guardians will be allowed to come to official Senior Night events at Underhill and Ritzer Fields through a ticket-based system.

  3. Two tickets per family will be distributed to the players, cheerleaders, and band members for home events at Underhill and Ritzer. These tickets will be distributed by the Athletic Office to coaches. No one without an official ticket will be allowed to enter the facilities.

  4. To demonstrate proper sportsmanship, a separate pool of tickets will be distributed to the Away team as well.

  5. Each family member’s temperature will be taken at the point of entrance. Family members with a temperature of 100.4 or more will not be admitted.

  6. Spectators will have to complete the CHS Athletic Event Questionnaire that will allow health officials to conduct efficient contact tracing in case we learn a spectator receives a positive test in the days after the event.

  7. Face coverings must be worn at all times. Anyone refusing to wear a face-covering will be denied entry to the athletic facility.

  8. Social distance must be maintained at all times.

  9. Columbia High School will abide by NJSIAA protocols.

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