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COVID regulations in place for MHS athletics

T-R PHOTO BY ANNE VANCE - Marshalltown High School head football coach Adam Goodvin talks with his team on the sideline during the Bobcats’ scrimmage with Des Moines North on Friday at Leonard Cole Field. Marshalltown recently issued its guidelines for fans attending fall sports, as did the Central Iowa Metropolitan League.

Having a fall season is important to Marshalltown Activites Director Ryan Isgrig. It’s why he’s worked as hard as possible trying to implement and formalize a fall sport set of COVID-19 preventative guidelines.

When the CIML released its set on August 14, it set the tone for what the Bobcats would add to their localized set of rules.

The result is a plan Isgrig and those participating hopes can keep athletes safe and the sports carrying on.

“We took a pretty firm approach,” Isgrig said. “We laid out options for every sport. Every event is different so we had to make different rules.”

Isgrig added that the inside sports were more difficult to iron down rules for because of the limited space available for spectators.

The CIML’s ruleset has roster limits of 18 for varsity volleyball and states that each player can be given only two tickets to distribute throughout the season. Each coach is given two tickets as well. The CIML made clear, though, that this ticket isn’t actually worth money: it just allows the holder to buy a ticket to gain access to the event. The guidelines also dictate that all varsity games begin at 7:30 p.m. Marshalltown’s volleyball guidelines don’t add much but do make clear spectators are expected to leave the arena after the varsity game is over and will be asked not to congregate on the arena floor. In general, it will be up to the home team how many home fans are allowed in the bleachers.

In girls’ swimming, the CIML and Marshalltown said there will be no away spectators allowed at dual meets. Home attendance was left up to local control, and the Bobcats will also go with the two passes per player/coach strategy to control the number of spectators. As with all fall sports, spectators will be required to wear a mask while in the facility at all times. Social distancing is required as well, and spectators are asked to sanitize hands before entering the pool balcony.

Isgrig said it’s going to be a lot of work to make sure the rules are followed but he is confident they can work.

“ADs have been forced to be pretty creative,” Isgrig said. “Our coaches have been great leaders through this time, which is what we need because it isn’t going to be a normal year.”

The football guidelines set in place by the school will face a big test Friday, Isgrig said. The Bobcats will issue varsity entrance passes to players, cheerleaders, marching band, dance team members and the freshman football team. Varsity players will get four passes each — the rest will get two passes per person. There will be social distancing mandated and a student section for high schoolers or middle schoolers is not allowed. Face coverings are required for the duration of the event. A minimum of 160 visitor tickets will be distributed in advance of the game.

In the bleachers, there will be blue dots marked out where spectators should sit, according to the guidelines. Fans are encouraged to sit only with household members.

In cross country and golf, spectators will be encouraged to wear masks or face coverings at points where social distancing is not possible.

There will be no student activity passes for the 2020 season.

It hasn’t been an easy process to iron out the rules, Isgrig said.

“It’s not an ideal situation,” Isgrig said. “There were a lot of logistical things to work out. It’s taken a lot of communication, but I think we are as ready as we’re gonna be.”

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