Lincoln Public Schools, in conjunction with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, announced on Friday its COVID-19 reduced spectator plan for fall sports to start the season.
In protocols similar to the ones used for the boys state high school basketball tournament, contests hosted by LPS schools will be limited to immediate family only. Immediate family is defined as "all members living in the household," and also includes grandparents. Members of the student body outside of immediate family nor the general public will be allowed to attend at this time.
Family attendance allowances at this time will be limited to four spectators per athlete/performer at all venues. Events taking place at football fields at Lincoln North Star and Southwest will be limited to two per student because of capacity limitations.
Performers include players, cheerleaders, dance team and the band.
With the Lancaster County risk dial still in the orange "high risk" category, "we felt this was a good starting point for us," said Kathi Wieskamp, the LPS director of athletics and activities.
"It's hard because we know it's the beginning of the season, everyone is excited and they want to be there."
Family groups will be asked to sit 6 feet away from other groups.
Any changes to increase attendance capacity, if they are feasible, will be based on recommendations from the Health Department.
"Lincoln Public Schools has worked collaboratively with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to create a spectator attendance plan that enables families to safely attend and watch their children perform in athletics and activities," LPS said in a statement. "We appreciate the community's cooperation and understanding."
Seacrest Field, which hosts most LPS football games, has a seating capacity of 9,000, and Lincoln High's Beechner Field can seat 1,700.
If two LPS schools are playing each other at Seacrest, only the home team will be allowed to have a dance team and band in attendance. Both schools can have cheerleaders.
The attendance protocols come less than a week before the start of fall sports. Softball games and golf meets are set to begin Thursday, and Lincoln North Star will kick off its football season the following night at Seacrest Field against Hastings.
A crowd of 2,475 attended last month's Shrine Bowl football game in Kearney, and no COVID-19 cases have been traced to players, game officials or spectators out of that contest or from the week of training camp for the participants.
LPS is asking attendees to adhere to the following protocols:
* Face coverings will be required to attend any LPS event, both indoors and outdoors.
* Self-screen before attending. If you feel ill, do not attend.
* Wash hand frequently and properly social distance at least 6 feet apart.