MSHSL allowing 2 fans per participant at indoor events

After changing course on the high school football and volleyball seasons, the Minnesota State High School League has decided to allow some fans at indoor sporting events this fall.

League officials after getting further guidance from the Minnesota Department of Education, each team at an indoor event can have up to two spectators per participant. League officials say participants are considered athletes only. Spectators must be separated by at least six feet between households or groups, and event spaces can’t exceed 25 percent of their total capacity.

The decision applies to sports, concerts, plays, competitions and any other performances that would normally have spectators.

St. Michael Albertville High School hosted their first volleyball match of the season Thursday night against Hopkins. The athletic director there said they moved quickly to get word to parents and start the ticket reservation process.

“It happened really fast but I’m a parent and I know how much it means to parents to be able to watch their kids so I tried to do everything we could in order to make it happen,” Athletic Director Keith Cornell said.

“[It’s] super exciting. We’re really happy that we get our fall season and super more excited that we get parents back because we weren’t expecting fans,” senior volleyball player at St. Michael Albertville High School, GK LeMonds said.

MSHSL officials say schools are required to have advanced reservations and/or a ticketing system in place. Walk-ins and impromptu purchases will not be admitted. Spectators will also be required to provide their name, phone number and email as part of the reservation so there can be immediate notification if a spectator develops COVID-19 symptoms.

Indoor high school sports, such as volleyball and swimming and diving, are unlikely to have fans allowed at events this week as most schools need to put COVID-19 protocols in place to provide a safe environment for spectators. League officials previously had decided to have indoor fall sports, but without spectators due to COVID-19 concerns.

“We were assuming we were going to be watching via live stream and we were all set up got it figured out and then we got the go ahead to come and it was like hurry up and get here and sit and watch her play for the first time,” parent St. Michael Albertville player, Karie Lake said.

It's not yet known if the decision will also apply to winter high school sports, most of which are held indoors.

The high school football season kicks off this week across Minnesota. State guidelines allow for up to 250 spectators combined for home and visiting teams at outdoor events.