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Jefferson County 509J schools join in spectator limits under state COVID-19 guidelines

Jefferson County School District 509-J

MADRAS, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Jefferson County School District 509J has placed limits on spectators at athletic events and other extracurricular activities, starting next week, under state guidelines to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19's Omicron variant.

The move is similar to one imposed this week by Bend-La Pine Schools.

Here's the full online posting by Superintendent Jay Mathisen:

SPECTATOR CHANGES

Jefferson County School District believes wholeheartedly in extracurricular activities and the value they bring to our students’ lives. It is our goal that these activities continue for our students who wish to do so. To ensure delivery of these activities can continue, we are announcing changes to indoor spectator guidance for all athletic and activity events held at our schools, beginning on Monday, January 17. These changes are being made to address rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19 in our community and in response to a memo from Oregon Department of Education and Oregon Health Authority from Jan. 3. We anticipate these to be temporary changes.

These spectator modifications are intended to further our efforts to protect our student athletes, coaches, and community. By doing this we can make sure these extra curriculars are not further disrupted.

Reducing capacity. We will begin by reducing capacities in our facilities and events.

  • Four seats per participant at most athletic contests: For athletic contests between two schools, spectators will be limited to four spots per participant. Each athlete, cheerleader, or coach participating at the event will be able to invite four spectators. Names will be checked at the door. No printed tickets will be issued and no walk-ins will be allowed. Events involving more than two schools may have further capacity limitations. For specific such events, decisions will be made prior to the event based on number of students participating and size of the venue.
  • Limited Seating for Clubs/Activities: Performing arts and clubs/activities with events planned will follow similar guidelines. Specific seating capacity limits will be established prior to events based on number of students participating and size of the venue.

Spectators agree to comply with guidelines. By accepting the pass and checking-in at the gate, spectators will agree to and be required to follow all COVID protocols, including wearing a mask at all times that covers the mouth and nose.

Streaming events. Spectators will be able to watch many athletics and activities events via the NFHS streaming service from home, work or remote location. The district is covering costs to ensure this service is free for families while capacity is reduced. The link to watch will be provided to all families prior to the implementation of the reduced capacity limits.

Our hope is that these temporary measures will be short lived. We love to support our teams, clubs and activities. Please help us keep them going by following this guidance.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Jay Mathisen

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