I was glad to hear that Grand Island Senior High will allow fall sports to occur with a limited number of spectators, but shocked at the one sport deemed too dangerous for spectating — cross country. I understand their sense of precaution, but this is a patently absurd decision.
For all other sports, GISH is allowing four-person spectator units. If they applied this standard and four-person units were allowed to line both sides of the 5,000-meter course, every 12 feet (6 feet space plus 6 feet for the unit), a full 5,468 spectators could attend. Nowhere near that many people usually come. Indeed, people don’t stand in one spot the whole meet, but even if spectators were only allowed to view the start and finish along the 300-meter home stretch, leaving 88% of the course empty, 656 spectators could attend in four-person units.
The meet takes place outdoors, where there aren’t a limited number of access points or tight areas everyone passes through to get to their seats like in a stadium or gym. The school cites the inability to control spectators as their rationale, but if spectators can’t be safely distanced and controlled on a wide-open. 120-acre plot of land, they can’t be safely distanced and controlled anywhere. The real kicker is that cross country is not the only GISH fall sport that takes place on a golf course. Girls golf will also take place, with four-person spectator groups allowed.