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GIPS increases security as football fans question COVID-19 precautions

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 10:58 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools released a letter to the community on Wednesday announcing they would increase security during sports events. The announcement comes just days before the Grand Island Senior High football game against Omaha Westside, whose fans have been asking questions about their crowd policy on social media lately.

Jennifer Worthington with the district’s communication department said their current protocol is that band members, dancers and athletes can bring up to four guests each. All other fans can watch a live stream of the event. This means even rival teams' families cannot attend games.

Omaha Westside parents and fans took to Twitter earlier in the week to start voicing their opinions on the policies.

Football fans take to Twitter to voice disapproval of GIPS sports policy.
Football fans take to Twitter to voice disapproval of GIPS sports policy.(Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)

“The state has opened up to stage four, 302 out of 303 Nebraska high schools are hosting visitors and home fans,” DJ Rezac, owner of the @KBBldServices Twitter account, said. “We just thought maybe we could help collaborate and give them some different ideas on maybe how fans could watch the game in person.”

Rezac tweeted at the district for the last few days and offered options that he said could work for everyone.

Rezac suggests allowing rival teams to bring up to 4 guests each.
Rezac suggests allowing rival teams to bring up to 4 guests each.(Alicia Naspretto, KSNB)

“What we’re puzzled about was why the double standard?” Rezac said. “Why is okay for Grand Island families to travel to Fremont and Omaha and Lincoln to watch their teams play if that in fact is doing exactly what you say you don’t want to happen.”

While the district did not respond to any social media messages, they did refer to the many posts in their letter to the community.

It read in part, “Unfortunately, because a handful of people on social media are encouraging fans of some visiting teams to ignore our safety protocols and put our students and families at risk, we are increasing security at our remaining home football games. We have a responsibility to our students, families, and educators to take this seriously. As of this Friday, September 25, anyone without a ticket to our game will be asked to leave school property immediately.”

“Everyone knows what the protocols are, we announced those several weeks ago," Jennifer Worthington said. "So we are certainly hoping that all the fans involved follow those protocols so that our students can continue to play the football game.”

The letter also said that anyone who is on the property during a game without a ticket will be asked to leave immediately.

Grand Island Public Schools' full letter to the community
Grand Island Public Schools' full letter to the community(GIPS)

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