Local high schools gear up for Friday night football with new fan guidelines

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The season is going to look a lot different this year

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – With just days until the start of the high school football season, schools are adjusting to new guidelines.

The season is going to look a lot different this year. Governor Mike DeWine has set limits on the number of spectators and other rules governing high school and collegiate athletics.

Fitch kicks off against rival Boardman Friday night and what normally draws a large crowd will be limited to 1,500 fans. School leaders are making sure they are following every guideline.

“I just hope everyone stays safe and we can get through it like we’re trying,” said Jim Penk, Austintown schools athletic director. “We have a parking plan. We will try to keep our visiting teams over in one section entering to split that up because once you get in the stadium, there will be some closed sections where you are not allowed to go.”

Social distancing continues inside the stadium where red circles will be spread out at the ticket lines and concession stands.

Certain seats will be blocked off with red tape.

School leaders are also making sure social distancing is practiced for sports inside the gym but in a unique way. Left over turf was put down to prevent people from sitting in certain spots.

“The sign simply says ‘Stay off the Grass.’ So, don’t sit on the grass. You have to sit on an open spot. It’s kind of creative, kind of cool,” Penk said.

Come Friday night, there will also be about half a dozen people walking around to ensure safety measures are being followed.

“Teachers, coaches, the ones that aren’t afraid to walk up to someone and say hey please put your mask on or hey can you please move over; you are not in the assigned seat you should be in,” Penk said

Governor DeWine said a variance in the order lets schools request more fans by submitting a plan to their local health department.

Fitch is painting red circles around the stadium fence for standing room, which would allow about 50 to 100 more people to attend.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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