JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Friday night lights will soon return to Duval County public schools, but the district says crowd sizes will be controlled when football and other athletic events begin in September.
The Duval County School District said it will limit attendance to 30% of a venue’s capacity for spectators, allowing for social distancing.
Fans entering and leaving facilities will be required to wear face coverings when entering, leaving and while visiting a concession stand or otherwise walking about. Coverings can be removed when fans are seated in an outdoor stadium.
For fans watching a game at an indoor venue, like a gymnasium, face coverings will be required.
Jamari Allen, a linebacker for Lee High School, said he’s excited to get back on the field, but he knows to expect less hype.
“In football, fans have a big impact on the game,” Allen said. “The way they act can shake the game, they can change momentum, all that. It’s still fans, but it ain’t the same amount.”
OJ Small, the head coach at Lee High, said a lot has already changed during practice.
“I try to keep the kids spread out as much as possible. We don’t bring it in to break any more. We parade in from afar. We break from afar. I talk to them while they are spread out. We just try to keep a mask on as much as possible. It’s way different, you know? Our water breaks look way different because everyone’s bringing in their own water,” Small said. “We’re just trying to keep everyone safe”
Congregating at games or in the parking lots will not be permitted.
DCPS says parents of athletes will have priority for tickets to games where stadiums are expected to reach capacity. A designated allotment of tickets will then be made available to home and away fans.
The first night of varsity football is Sept. 10. Andrew Jackson will host Englewood at 6 p.m.
Here is a breakdown of select districts and other private schools:
- Bishop Kenny has a Capacity of 20% for all games
- Bolles: Spectators limited to parents and siblings of players and cheerleaders. They will be screened and asked to sit in designated spots.
- Bradford: Capacity of 50% for all games.
- Clay County: Venue capacity limited to 30% and will only have Digital ticket sales only.
- Episcopal: plans to finalize and announce their plans next week
- Flagler County: has not announced its plans yet
- Nassau County: Venue capacity limited to 50%.
- St. Johns County: Venue capacity limited to 30%.
- Trinity Christian: Capacity limited to 50%. All digital ticket sales.
- University Christian: Capacity limited to 50%, which is roughly 700 fans.