It's that time again for some schools in North Texas: Friday Night Lights.
But with the coronavirus pandemic, what changes will people encounter? Face masks, sanitizer stations and crowds at 50% capacity.
On Tuesday, the University Interscholastic League released additional guidance that schools must follow.
Stadiums can have up to 50% capacity for fans, as long as there is social distancing.
Spectators who are entering areas for UIL activities, such as stadiums, must be screened for symptoms. The district must screen to determine if visitors are positive for COVID-19 or have had close contact with an individual who is test-confirmed with COVID-19, according to the UIL.
School systems may consider screening students for COVID-19 as well, the UIL said. Screening is accomplished by asking questions by phone or other electronic methods and/or in person.
District staff members are required to self-screen for symptoms related to COVID-19 before entering those areas of participating in UIL activities, the UIL said.
Schools are allowed to prevent any person who fails the screening criteria from being admitted to the facility.
Face masks and coverings
All fans, parents and employees over 10 years old who are watching a game are required to wear a face mask or face covering.
Students must wear them unless they are actively practicing or playing in a contest or game.
The face covering requirements do not apply to a school in a county that meets the requirements of paragraph 11 of Executive Order GA-29, meaning the county has a low COVID-19 case count and a formal exemption from the Texas Department of Emergency Management.
The school system may also choose to implement these requirements locally.
Even in these circumstances, the wearing of face coverings or face shields is strongly encouraged, the UIL said.
Audience and fans
Paper tickets and programming should be minimized to help avoid transferable materials.
Districts should use online ticketing to maintain the 50% capacity and use reserved arrival time slots so people aren't arriving all at the same time, the UIL guidelines state.
Groups of people in the same household or who traveled together should maintain social distancing from other groups.
"Schools should not allow seating in consecutive rows, and should block off seating to maintain a minimum six feet of distance between groups," the UIL said.
Schools should provide hand sanitizing stations and/or handwashing stations.
Staff, contractors and volunteers at concession stands or any other food service are required to wear face masks, the UIL said, per Gov. Greg Abbott's order.
Foodservice vendors should only provide tabletop items, such as flatware and condiments, per request and should not leave them on the counter.
Counters and service areas should be regularly cleaned and disinfected after each customer leaves.
Those who will be working in food service, including volunteers, should also be screened for COVID-19 symptoms prior to the event.
Teams and participants
Schools should develop a plan for managing the storage, cleaning and disinfecting, and redistribution of student equipment, such as towels, practice clothes and uniforms, the UIL said. Involved staff should be trained specifically on these protocols.
The district must follow Texas Education Agency guidance for transportation and the host site should designate a cleaned, disinfected area for teams to unload and load buses that are separate from fans, spectators and others not essential to the team or group.
The locker rooms for the visiting teams should be cleaned and sanitized by the host district before the team arrives. Visiting teams are responsible for disinfecting their own equipment.
Water, drinks and food may be provided to the students, but should be done in a way that students are not sharing the items.
Pregame and post-game "gestures of sportsmanship" should be conducted in ways to help reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19, the UIL said. The Center for Disease Control has said to stop handshaking and to use other ways to greet people without contact.
Fans and spectator areas, such as bleachers, stands and walkways, should be at least 6 feet away from team areas, like benches and performance areas. If that's not feasible, use face coverings or physical barriers.
The district should give students and other participants entry and exit plans so they can be separated from non-participants and fans. People who are not essential to the team should not have access to the contest areas, performance areas, courts or fields at all before, during or after contests and events.
Students groups not directly in the game
Students such as marching bands, cheerleaders, drill teams and other groups may attend and perform at games or contests in which they are not competing. These groups should remain separate from the game or contest participants at all times, including when on the sideline, and avoid mixing with fans.
"Schools should consider limiting the number of participants to those essential to the performance," the UIL said. "Fans and spectators should be located to provide at least 10 feet of distance from bands playing wind instruments from the stands."
COVID-19 symptoms screening questions as outlined by the UIL:
"In evaluating whether an individual has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, consider the following question:
"Have they recently begun experiencing any of the following in a way that is not normal for them?"
- Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
- Loss of taste or smell
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Shaking or exaggerated shivering
- Significant muscle pain or ache
- Nausea or vomiting