OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Blue Valley High football players came running onto the field through a banner that looked like a mask, which said, “The mask we have all been waiting for.”
It was a nod to the rallies of athletes and parents chanting, “Let them play!” The district initially postponed fall sports.
But when the district announced two weeks ago it would allow sports, Blue Valley said they’d work with doctors to come up with a plan for high-risk sports like football.
“Our biggest concern was risk mitigation. How do we keep our kids and our staff safe?” Executive Director for School Administration David Stubblefield said.
This season, Blue Valley players’ helmets don’t just have face masks, but also cloth masks to block particles from opponents.
“So whether they are playing or they are on the sideline, they have a mask,” Stubblefield said.
“It clips on to their mask like right here,” mother of a player Lisa Havens demonstrated. “I washed it the other day. We’re all good.”
There’s no testing of players or temperature checking fans, but only family members living in players’ and cheerleaders’ homes were allowed at the game.
So outside the stadium, grandparents sat in lawn chairs.
“I’m going to miss some of that line action I could see if I was in the stands, but we can see who is coming around the corner anyway so that will be fine,” grandparent Bob Lahr said.
The district isn’t trying to get under any specific crowd size limit, but it wanted to provide plenty of room for fans to social distance.
“No matter if it’s 10 people in the stands or 1,000 people in the stands, the girls are going to do what they do best and go out and perform,” Jennifer Green said.
“We’re just happy that all the kids doing all the activities get to participate and just be kids, just have fun,” Jayme Muehlberger said.
The season will be just five games for the five Blue Valley Schools playing only other schools within the district.