With the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases as a result of the Omicron variant, the School Department is putting a limit on how many people can attend school sporting events. Last week, the School Committee approved Athletic Director Frank Shea’s request to limit attendance at sporting events to two parents or caregivers per athlete.
“Mr. Shea has been in touch with all the other athletic directors in the Greater Boston League and across the state through the MIAA, and we’re seeing different things happen in different districts,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Dianne Kelly. “Somerville, for example, has a restrictive policy where effective immediately they are not allowing any observers at any of their games; other districts, such as Lynn, are allowing a limited number of people to attend per athlete.”
Kelly added that Shea is working with RevereTV to make sure all the games are televised.
“I’m definitely in favor of this,” said School Committee Member Stacey Rizzo. “We can’t control how people move around the gym or how they sit, so with the smaller numbers, I think it’s easier for everyone involved. If we want to have winter sports, we have to do what’s best for the athletes right now.”
School Committee Member Frederick Sannella offered an amended motion that would not have allowed for any spectators at school sporting events. Sannella said banning all spectators would simplify the process.
Rizzo said she would support the motion if that was what was needed to let the students play sports this winter, but noted it could be a tough sell to parents. “I’m willing to do it if that’s the will of the committee, but I really do believe it’s going to be difficult,” said Rizzo.
The committee ultimately voted down Sannella’s proposal in favor of Shea’s original request.
Kelly noted that both Revere and visiting teams would be subject to the same rules allowing for no more than two parents or caregivers per athlete. “We did learn from our parents last year that they do appreciate that if there can’t be a large crowd, at least they are able to watch their kids play in person, especially if they are seniors,” Kelly said.