Athletic directors across northeastern Oklahoma shared their plans to keep students and parents healthy while taking part in indoor sports.
School districts in Green Country are making an effort to protect students and spectators through the winter sports season, as a recent spike in COVID-19 cases gave several districts reason for concern.
"The way the curve has moved up the last few weeks, this exponential rise, has forced us to take some drastic measures to protect our athletes," said Jay Bittle, the Bixby School District's athletic director.
John Federline, Union School District's executive director of secondary education, emphasized how important it is to keep the winter sports season in play.
"These things are hugely important to a lot of our kids and a lot of their families and we want to continue things as safely as possible," Fedeline said.
The Tulsa Public School District's COVID-19 safety plan is the most drastic, cutting out all spectators for at least two weeks. Gil Cloud, the TPS Executive Director of Athletics ties the decision to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the area.
“It was a no-brainer really, we needed to do that in order to keep playing,” Cloud said. “We certainly don’t want to get into what we had last spring where we literally had to shut down the entire program."
Bixby Public Schools is restricting stadiums to 25% capacity and is mandating masks.
The Jenks district is doing the same, and moving all ticked purchases to an online program aimed at reducing crowds and contact at the front gates on gameday.
"Being able to do that we'll have rows blocked off, not only in the graphic that we'll have for people signing up for seats, but as well as physically they're blocked off," said Tony Dillingham, the Jenks Public Schools athletic director.
Union Public Schools will keep crowds to 35% capacity. The district will also require anyone not on the court of play, including referees and coaches, to wear a mask.