Spectator Safety

Fans at games amid COVID-19 rise


Patricia Lopez-Milian

Park students cheer on boys’ basketball during their games Jan. 11 against Orono. Masks are currently required for all spectators at Park sports games that are indoors and in the building.

Crystal Diaz and Johanna Kaplan

Despite a recent rise in COVID-19 cases, sporting events, particularly boys’ hockey and boys’ basketball, attract lots of fans. Because of this, senior Sophia Romero said she feels wearing masks is a wise decision for spectators. 

“In the last couple of weeks, a lot of people from our school have gotten Covid,” Romero said. “(It feels like) a word of warning that maybe we should be, if not social distancing, then at least wearing masks at games.” 

When it comes to wearing masks, mandates vary for spectators depending on which building they are in, according to athletic director Andy Ewald.

“Hockey is at the Rec Center, and that’s a city-owned facility so we follow whatever their rules are and at least at this point, they don’t require masks inside. So we can’t supersede what their rules (are),” Ewald said.

Basketball games, on the other hand, take place in a school building, meaning that they are subject to the school’s mask mandate, according to Ewald. 

“Unless you’re actively participating (in a sport), the expectation is you have a mask on if you’re in a school district building,” Ewald said. 

According to senior Brady Truett, many take advantage of the more lenient rules at the Rec Center, but will also adhere when masks are mandatory. 

“(At the) Rec we don’t have to at all. There’ll be one or two kids that do and then (at the gym), everyone’s got them.” Truett said 

According to Romero, trying to social distance in the student section isn’t worth it. But for the adults in the crowd, it is much more achievable.

“Throughout the whole arena I would say that social distancing is possible. I think that’s why the adults take that into their hands a little bit more. But in the student section — no, not really. There’s not enough space for us to even try,” Romero said.

Truett emphasizes the importance of location when it comes to mask mandates. 

“It’s location, location, location,” Truett said. “If there’s a choice that you don’t have to (wear a mask), I think most people are kinda done (wearing them).”

According to Ewald, he acknowledges that not everybody will be wearing masks. Consistently putting in an effort to have people wear masks is what matters to Ewald.

“Will we get 100% of the people all the time (to wear masks)? No,” Ewald said. “(But) we’re actively going around and asking people, ‘can you please pull your mask up?’”