COVID Protocols Mean Fan Attendance Restricted at WHS Athletic Events

Thanks to COVID-19, fans have been essentially ejected from all Wilton High School sporting events. On Friday, WHS Athletic Director Chris McDougal released his plan for conduct at school sporting events prepared in conjunction with Wilton Health Director Barry Bogle–a plan that significantly restricts the number of fans who can attend any match or game.

Most notably, the plan expressly prohibits any student spectators and allows only parents of varsity players to attend any game, match, or meet.

McDougal explained that the restrictions were made with the best interests for health in mind, mentioning “our mutual goal for safe, healthy, competition.”

In a message to the WHS community, McDougal wrote, “Most importantly, we must all work together to ensure that we [support a return to school sports] in a manner that is safe and healthy for all members of the school community including student-athletes, coaches, referees, and family members.”

He pointed to recent COVID-19 outbreaks and clusters among professional and college athletes as supporting proof for the need to enact strict protocols. Indeed, over the weekend, the Tennessee Titans football team announced that there are 20 COVID-19 positive cases among the players, including 18 positive tests returned since last Tuesday.

McDougal also noted that the plan is in line with the FCIAC rules allowing only varsity athletes’ parents the opportunity to see their child play. This plan will be implemented for varsity games only and fans will not be allowed to attend sub-varsity games at all.

(The FCIAC website lists specifics for fan attendance at each sport for all schools in the conference.)

The policies and procedures for spectators, officials and visiting teams issued for Wilton are as follows:

  • Students will not be allowed to attend athletics events.

  • Each parent of a varsity athlete will be issued a lanyard with a badge.

  • All parents must fill out the COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to coming to the game.

  • Parents must check in at the gate at the entrance of the field and show their badge to the site director. The site director will ensure that the parent has completed the COVID-19 Screening Tool.

  • If a parent has not filled out the COVID-19 Screening Tool prior to coming to the game, the parent must complete the paper form on site. Parents should recognize that this will take extra time.

  • Parents must wear masks at all times while at the game.

  • Parents must maintain at least six feet [of] social distancing at all times during the game.

  • At Kristine Lilly Field the first three rows will be available for our spectators.

  • At Veterans Memorial Stadium the center section of the home bleachers will be open for spectators.

  • In the Nicholas Zeoli Field House only one parent will be allowed in to watch the volleyball game due to state guidelines of indoor spaces and FCIAC policies.

  • At Allens Meadow, spectators for cross country must stay in the parking lot with their vehicle. Spectators will not be permitted on the grass area, but will be able to see most of the race from the parking lot.

  • At the YMCA [girls’ swim meets], unfortunately, no spectators will be allowed due to social distancing guidelines.

  • At the conclusion of the game, spectators will not be allowed on the fields.  They must exit through the designated exit.

McDougal noted that all policies and procedures are “subject to further evaluation and potential revision” depending on changes in COVID-19 pandemic conditions.

Games played at Zeoli Field House and Fujitani Field are being live-streamed via YouTube and are available for viewing afterward on the Wilton High School TV YouTube channel.