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Educators take safety precautions for first high school football game in the country

Davis players wave rather shake hands with Herriman due to COVID-19 in Herriman on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020. The game is the first high school football game since the pandemic began.

HERRIMAN, Utah – Both Herriman and Davis high schools are the spotlight, Herriman hosts the first high school football game in the country in the era of COVID-19.  The Jordan School District is taking big safety precautions as they try to stop the spread of the virus at the game.

Normally, Mustang Stadium at Herriman High School can hold 4,000 fans.  However, for this football game, the school can only fill the stadium to 25% capacity, which means only 900 fans were able to get tickets.  Only 700 people are allowed on the home side, and 200 on the visitors’.  Because of that, the school had to be selective about who they sold tickets to.

Herriman High School Principal Todd Quarnberg says, “I’ve got football boys whose parents want to see them play.  I’ve got 150 football players but the sophomores aren’t going to be able to dress because I can only have 50 kids on the football field.  So, I’m going to guarantee them a seat.”

The marching bands weren’t allowed to perform, and only a limited number of cheerleaders would be allowed on the sidelines, but Quarnberg says it was important that the game is played.  He says this was more than just a game to many people in the community.  It’s an attempt to return to normal.

“This isn’t just about football.  There has been a depression in all kids since we started this dismissal in March.  Parents are calling me and asking, ‘Is there anything at the school?’” according to Quarnberg.

Jordan School District Spokesperson Sandy Riesgraf says a lot of people in their community feel the exact same way.

 

She says, “One student said, ‘This is the game I love.  I don’t get up at five in the morning for anything, but I get up at five in the morning to be out on the football field and to practice.”

However, the district can’t take the threat of the virus lightly.  Along with limiting the number of people allowed to buy tickets, they required everyone attending the game to sign an agreement saying they would wear masks and maintain social distancing.  In the past, people could just drive up to the school, buy a ticket, and sit wherever they found room.  In this case, all fans will have assigned seating.

“We know exactly where everyone is sitting just in case we have to do any contact tracing,” Riesgraf says.

Even the concessions will be different.  Riesgraf says people won’t be able to ask for a regular burger or hot dog because everything has to be pre-packaged for the game.

Riesgraf says she understands this game won’t sound, look or feel like the game that so many players and their families have grown to love.  However, she says they’re just happy they could host one.

“At least we did get to have some fans in the stands, again.  We get to have players on the field,” she says.

After a close game, the Davis Darts beat the Mustangs 24-20.

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