Orange County school leaders reverse sporting event two-spectator rule, keep mask requirement

Orange County News

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Student-athletes in Orange County can now have more fans at their games.

The Orange County school board voted in favor of the district’s new recommendation Monday night, overturning a two-spectator rule.

The board approved an up to 50-percent fan capacity rule for sporting events. There needs to be enough room for six feet of social distancing between people from separate households.

According to the district, each school could have its own rules on how many guests an athlete can have, and if tickets can open up to the public. It all depends on the venue size.

The two-spectator rule was a hot topic amongst parents Monday evening.

“When my son plays soccer, my husband and I cannot both attend since our younger daughter would be over the limit, so our own family can’t even be together at a soccer game to support our son,” said one parent during public comment.

Jonathan Weisenfeld has a middle and high schooler who runs cross-country and said he is in favor of the COVID protocols until vaccination rates go up and COVID transmission goes down.

“It hasn’t been a big deal, it causes a little bit of a problem when let’s say me, my wife, and my daughter want to go to see my son run, only two of us can go, but I completely understand why they’re doing it,” he said.

The board also voted for mask requirements for fans to continue, and for no concessions to be allowed at games.

One board member proposed allowing concessions at outdoor events, but it did not pass.

Prior to the vote, the board received an update from the Orange County Health Department who said the county transmission rate is still considered high.

The district said they’re in a better place than they were two weeks ago, and that the two high schools have about a 70% student-athlete vaccination rate.

The district said it will bring recommendations to the board every 14-21 days, or at least every month.

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