At their regular meeting on Monday, Jan. 11, the Mid-Prairie Board of Education loosened athletic spectator regulations to allow each athlete, manager and coach to have four tickets to allocate to friends and family, plus siblings allowed to attend events. The move comes after Governor Kim Reynolds on Jan. 7 issued a proclamation to lift the previous spectator restrictions, which allowed each participant two tickets, plus siblings, per event.
While the governor’s proclamation lifts the tickets-per-athlete restrictions, it still requires masks and social distancing between groups of spectators. The school board ultimately decided to continue the system of allocating tickets to each participant in order to keep attendance low enough that social distancing would be possible.
“It just doesn’t make sense, to still enforce social distancing and to allow unlimited spectators,” board member Gabrielle Frederick said. “It can’t happen in an indoor facility.”
Board member Jeremy Pickard made an initial motion to lift all ticket restrictions and, as outlined in the governor’s proclamation, require masks and social distancing.
“I’m inclined to let people decide on their own what they’re comfortable doing,” Pickard said. “We post that masks are required, please social distance where you can and we do it in accordance to what the governor is saying. If people are uncomfortable or don’t feel like they want to be there, they have the option to watch the game virtually.”
Pickard’s motion, however, stalled on the floor, with Pickard, Jeremy Gugel and Jodi Meader voting in favor and Denise Chittick, Frederick and Marianne Schlabach voting against (Mary Allred was absent).
“The only thing I had a problem with Jeremy Pickard’s motion was how the governor stated [her proclamation],” Frederick said. “If we would let that stand… it puts pressure on us to enforce social distancing and that is not possible.”
Chittck then made a motion to lift all ticket restrictions for Mid-Prairie spectators but limit away spectators to two tickets per participant, but this motion also failed on the floor with four votes against.
Finally, Schlabach made the motion to increase each participant’s number of tickets to four, plus siblings, and to require masks and encourage social distancing as outlined in the governor’s proclamation. This motion passed, with Gugel and Pickard voting against.
“It’s been working,” Schlabach said of the ticket restrictions. “The athletes are still playing.”
There is one more home wrestling event, on Thursday, Jan. 21, and about four weeks left in the regular basketball schedule, with the boy’s team playing seven more home games and the girl’s team playing give more home games. The board acknowledged that the games against West Liberty, on Jan. 15, and Washington, on Feb. 1, might be especially busy. Away teams will also be limited for four tickets per athlete, plus siblings.
In other business, the board approved the administration’s recommendation to continue 90-minute early-outs every Wednesday, as have been the case since the start of the school year. The early outs allow teachers extra time to prepare lessons for absent students. Superintendent Mark Schneider said over 80% of teachers were in favor of continuing the weekly early outs.
The schedule of early outs, in addition to two built-in snow days, give the district a cushion of 7.3 hours of instruction time. Should any late starts or early outs due to inclement weather exceed this cushion, the district will have to make up that time by altering the early out schedule toward the end of the year.