No fans, physically distanced cheer squads, and emptying "spit valves" will be forbidden. Those are some of the restrictions that were outlined today in a plan for Yellowstone County High School and Middle School athletic events and activities.

Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton released the plan during a Tuesday (8/18) press conference, and announced that it is in effect immediately for "all middle school and high school athletic events and activities within the bounds of Yellowstone County, MT."

According to details in the plan for athletic events, no fans will be allowed until further notice, and only the team, team staff, and game officials will be permitted at games. Home teams may need to provide additional meeting space for visiting teams to accommodate for social distancing, according to the plan. Face masks will also be required for all team personnel and players, when "[not] exercising in a strenuous matter."

Some other requirements highlighted in the plan include assigned seats on team buses, screening of team personnel and athletes before every competition or practice, and masks for everyone not in the game.

Other requirements in the High School and Middle School Athletics and Associated Activities include:

  • Prioritizes student participation, including band and cheerleaders.
  • Puts responsibility for compliance on the school and district of the home team.
  • Requires distancing players on the sidelines and space for distancing students when indoors.
  • Requires isolation of any player or team staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 and requires quarantine of any who are close contacts, according to current CDC guidance.
  • Forbids musicians from emptying “spit valves” on the floor or other hard surfaces used by multiple people.
  • Allows working members of the media to cover the athletic events while wearing masks and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others. Microphones and other audio recording devices must be sanitized after every interview.

The plan was created with input from large and small school superintendents and athletic directors, and "doesn't eliminate risk of transmitting COVID-19, but is designed to lower the risks."