GFPS issues guidance for fall sports

Great Falls Public Schools released guidelines for athletics.

“It is our strong belief that participation in athletics and other extra-curricular programs enhances our student-athletes physical, social, and mental-emotional well-being. The Montana High School Association has released guidance for conducting fall activities during this time of the pandemic. The choice to participate in extra-curricular activities/athletics remains strictly voluntary. While schools remain open and are offering instruction to students, the Great Falls Public Schools Athletic Department is committed to taking measures to mitigate the risk of participation to the degree that is possible and feasible,” according to a GFPS memo.

[Read the complete document here]

Under the guidelines, each participant in uniform will be issued three passes to distribute to parents/family members that can be used for admittance. Those passes will be numbered and recorded on completion of the screening process to enter an event. The passes will be valid for the entire season except for playoffs.

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Covid protocols and expectations will be printed on the back of the pass along with an acknowledgement of the
inherit risk associated with attendance of the event, according to the memo.

Under the guidelines, visiting fans will not be admitted to events except for cross town events, in which both groups of fans will be allowed to utilize their provided passes, but seating arrangement will be separated, according to the memo.

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The will be reviewed periodically throughout the season to determine whether or not it is reasonable to allowed limited number of visiting spectators, according to the GFPS memo.

“During this time of the COVID-19 outbreak and the resultant shut downs, we recognize the need to put extra-curricular
activities in the proper perspective,” according to the memo.

GFPS will adhere to the directives and recommendations from the Cascade County City-County Health Department, Board of Trustees, Superintendent of Schools and Gov. Steve Bullock.

“Given the MHSA’s decision to offer opportunities for fall athletes, we are issuing the following proposal for the management of events/competitions hosted by GFPS in local facilities,” according to the memo.

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Under Bullock’s directives, the sponsor is responsible for ensuring compliance with applicable requirements issued by the governor or the local health officer, including but not limited to the use of masks and the maintenance of appropriate physical social distancing throughout the entirety of the event.

For purposes of athletic events and activities, the school district of the home team is the sponsor and is responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements for all in attendance, including both the home team and the visiting team.

“It is therefore incumbent upon the district of the home team to ensure that visiting teams from outside of Cascade County are aware of the terms of this plan and provide an indication that they will comply with them, prior to the activity or event. The aim of this plan is to mitigate and manage the range of risks associated with school sports and activities, while acknowledging that there likely be cases of Covid-19 associated with these activities,” according to the GFPS memo. “We acknowledge that some school districts/counties may have policies that are more or less restrictive than these guidelines.”