All, as we get ready to begin the Spring semester, I want to touch base with families of athletes and Bear fans in general regarding the thing we hate to talk about, Covid, and the protocols that go along with it.
Covid and Changes in Sports
I have received some communications from opposing schools who have had some issues with fans not wanting to follow their procedures for purchasing tickets, and in some cases for not following Covid protocols. Understand that while these complaints have been minimal, like it or not, Covid has brought about a lot of changes in our sports world.
I have tried to stay on top of things, and will commit to continuing to do so in regard to communicating ticket and protocol information to parents and staff. I’d ask that anyone who knows fans or extended family who attend games to watch our Bears please forward my emails to those folks. I want to ensure that any relevant ticket information gets out to everyone who needs that information.
Covid and Sports: Online Ticketing
Several schools, including SMA, have moved to online ticketing. Many schools, we included, are doing 100% online sales. Some have online as an option but still take cash at the gate. It is very important to understand that whatever ticketing process an opponent chooses, it is fully their right to turn away anyone who refuses to use that option to purchase a ticket.
As far as Covid protocols, such as requiring masks, social distancing, and/or limits on fans who can attend, things up to this point have for the most part been very relaxed. I’m sure some of you remember last year, when masks were required by most schools, and attendance was often limited to parents only, or two fans per player, or some other pretty strict form of limiting the number of fans allowed. This year, very few schools have placed any Covid limitations or rules at all on fans.
Yet with the recent uptick due to the Omicron variant, without trying to sound like Doctor Doom, I would just warn that we could see things like masks and fan restrictions come back into play, possibly pretty quickly. I will relay any restrictions to you along with ticket information before every road game. I know that everyone gets pretty inundated with emails, but PLEASE keep an eye out for the ones I send as our winter seasons continue and we roll not too far down the road into our spring sports seasons.
Covid and Sports: Respect Opposing Team’s Protocols
Again, I cannot emphasize enough, each school we play is 100% free to decide how they are going to sell tickets and which protocols we choose to enforce. They have every right to refuse entry to anyone unwilling to follow the procedures and protocols they choose to put in place. We need to respect and follow their decisions just as we expect them to follow any procedures we put in place.
By Toby Wade, SMA athletic director