PROVO, Utah — The venue for Provo High School’s football game against Wasatch on Friday night won’t be taking place in Spanish Fork anymore.
Provo High School Principal Boyd McAffee sent a letter to parents on Wednesday, stating the school had planned to play against Wasatch at Spanish Fork High School, changing the venue for their homecoming game in order to allow the teams to play in front of fans.
“We all recognize that hosting a Homecoming Game at another venue is a bit unorthodox, but it is the best option to allow spectators at the game,” he wrote.
McAffee asked attendees to wear masks to the game and said, “We all need to do our part to keep our community healthy, to keep our school open, and to give our students a chance to finish their seasons.”
Provo athletic director Mike Hunter told KSL.com that the move had been approved and they were ready to play.
Hours after the letter was sent a representative from the Nebo School District put a halt to those plans and asked both schools to find a new venue.
“After discussing this matter together, the Nebo district administration has asked the Provo district administration and Provo High School to find a different venue for the Provo High vs. Wasatch High football game this coming Friday,” Nebo spokesperson Lana Hiskey told KSL.com.
“We appreciate the cooperative relationship we have in working together to support students, their families, and the communities in which we live.” Provo will now host Friday’s game against Wasatch and stay in compliance with health mandates.
No fans in the stands
Both Provo and Orem were downgraded into the ‘Orange” threat level by the Utah Department of Health after seeing a dramatic spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases. As part of that move, sports teams would still be able to play, but would not be allowed to sit fans in the stands.
“Cases in Utah County grew by 81% in the last week,” State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said during a news conference on Tuesday.
Dunn noted that even though Utah County makes up for 20% of the state’s population their case rate was 5.4 times greater than in any other area of the state and accounted for 42% of the state’s overall number of new cases.
“Looking at specific areas in Utah County, Provo and Orem account for over 57% of Utah County’s cases last week and in some areas of those two cities, you are between 3 and 6 times more likely to have COVID-19 than the rest of the state.
“The percent positive in Utah County is 23%. If we removed Utah County’s numbers from the state’s numbers the rest of the state is only at 10%. This indicates there is a lot of COVID-19 spread in Utah County and we’re likely missing positive cases because individuals are not getting tested in Utah County.”
On Wednesday the Governor said while he applauds the creativity of those at Provo High School, feels it’s sending the wrong message.
“We have a serious problem. It’s not fictional. It’s real. We have people that are getting sick and we have people have died,” he said.
“This is something that we need to be working together on… The good news is for Provo High School is that they’re going to be allowed to play football. We know that there’s an inconvenience and a sacrifice, and maybe there won’t be any fans in the stadium and that’s sad for the parents and friends of the players. I get it, I understand that. But we have a higher calling right now to stop the spread of this coronavirus and do what’s in our power to in fact do that.
“We all have a responsibility and a role to play. So I hope that we’ll do that. The inconvenience and sacrifice is momentary, but people that get sick will probably have long term impacts, and those that die of course, is the ultimate sacrifice.”
When asked about @ProvoHighSchool‘s plan to move their homecoming event to another venue to avoid state health guidelines, @GovHerbert said he applauds their creativity, but thinks the school is sending the wrong message. pic.twitter.com/SqySqmbJef
— KSL NewsRadio (@kslnewsradio) September 24, 2020
The game will go on
Hunter told KSL.com Provo will host Friday’s game with Wasatch in compliance with the county’s new mandate. The game will be streamed live on KSL.com.
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