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Social distancing in the stands at HS football

High school football is back, welcoming fans in new ways in response to COVID-19.
Published: Aug. 29, 2020 at 12:42 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - High school football fans not only had to battle rain Friday night.

Spectators were welcomed back in the stands at St. John’s Jesuit with new restrictions and safety precautions to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“When they come in we’re doing temp checks, anybody with over 100 degrees can’t come in. And it’s basically the prescreening questions that they are asked all over the place, and so it’s something a little extra that we do,” said Athletic Director Bob Ronai.

Lines were wrapped around the St Johns’s parking lot for over an hour before a delayed kickoff for their matchup against St. Francis.

From the moment of arrival, the game night experience was different for fans.

Athletic Director Bob Ronai explains preparing for the football return has been a constantly evolving plan with high stakes on the line.

“A lot of the things we are doing now if we don’t do them right its going to affect the kids more than anybody else,” said Ronai.

Following Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s orders, all fans in attendance were required to wear a face mask at all times, sit spaced out with their families only, and be socially distant from others.

“We’re here at the game and we’re so glad. We’re very lucky that they worked it out for us to be here. And we’re just happy to here to support our brothers,” said St. John’s senior Joey Hoppenjas.

Following the state of Ohio’s restrictions of crowd size, St. John’s is only allowing family members of players at games.

Leaving the student section empty.

Member of the St. John’s Spirit Squad, Joey Hoppenjas is staying is positive despite the changes.

“We’re going to take all the energy and give it to the parents, and hopefully they feed off of us and we can use the parents as a replacement to the student section,” said Hoppenjas.

Ronai believes St John’s is adapting in the best way possible.

St. John’s athletics plans to constantly evolve with the ongoing situation.

Bob Ronai explains the school has to take things seriously because ultimately it’s about the students.

“You only go through high school once. You only go through your senior year once. You know a lot of memories that live for a lifetime with these young men,” said Ronai.

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