Plans are being put in place for the four Cass County schools to allow a limited number of fans at high school athletic events this fall.
Logansport High School announced its plan on Tuesday. Pioneer also has a plan put in place. Lewis Cass and Caston have yet to finalize their plans. Up in Pulaski County, Winamac has a plan put in place.
The following are where the schools are as of Tuesday night in regards to their planning:
Logansport announced its plans on allowing a limited number of fans at its fall sports events.
The vast number of seats at both Logansport Memorial Hospital Stadium and the Berry Bowl will allow a relatively large amount of fans to still attend events.
Logansport athletic director Brian Strong is planning to allow fans at Berry games.
“We just got word that right now as we sit here today that we’re at a 50% capacity maximum, and then with that being said no more than 250 people in any specific set of bleachers,” he explained. “The max that what we can have is the smaller of 50% of the whatever that set of bleachers will hold or 250 people. Take the football stadium, the grandstand seats just a little over 800 people, but we can’t have any more than 250 people in that section. Take the soccer stadium, each set of bleachers there sits 325 people and so we can’t go 250 there, we’ve got to go 50%, so it would be 162 people. Then same thing with Berry Bowl, it would just be 250 people in each section.”
In a release on Tuesday, Logansport announced a total of no more than 1,250 people would be allowed at football games, 362 at soccer games and 750 would be allowed at volleyball matches (the number at volleyball matches could be increased if needed).
Strong added that for all public high schools in Indiana per Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive order, facial coverings will be required at indoor sporting events. The only exceptions are for eating, drinking or medical reasons. The only indoor sport in the fall is volleyball.
For outdoor sports, facial coverings are required when social distancing cannot take place.
Family units will be allowed to sit together. But other than in that situation, fans are asked to spread out and stay 6 feet away from each other.
Strong added that within the spacious confines of LMH Stadium, he thinks that students and the LHS band will be allowed at events.
“I think we’ll have similar sized crowds, we’ll just have to direct people to different areas. We’re working on things logistically on our end, our own students and our band, where we can put them. We obviously want our students and want the band at the games. What can we do with those groups to allow spectators more area to space out. We’re working on that throughout this as well,” he said.
The Logansport football team opens its season at Peru on Aug. 21. The home opener is the following Friday against Northwestern, which replaces Frankfort on the schedule.
The Logan volleyball team opens the season at the Cass County Tournament on Saturday at Lewis Cass. The home opener isn’t until Sept. 1 against Pioneer.
Logan boys soccer opens at Frankfort next Tuesday. The home opener is next Thursday against Harrison. Logan girls soccer opens at home against Frankfort next Tuesday.
Cross country, girls golf and boys tennis being held outdoors in spacious areas could provide fans plenty of room to social distance in the outdoors.
Pioneer is expected to have one of the better football teams in the state in Class 2A this year.
Pioneer athletic director John Bingaman talked about the plan for football.
“We sent it to the Cass County Health Department today. We’ve got two sets of bleachers, so we’re going to keep it at 500 — 250 for home, 250 away, all presale tickets, you can’t buy them at the gate. In fact we’re selling season passes, you buy one ticket you’re buying a season pass,” he said.
“Parents go first, we have three per family,” he continued. “We’ll do that a couple days, so they have that opportunity to get them first. Then we’ll put it up to the general public.
“We’re selling preseason tickets. So you’re buying a pass for all four home games that we have. Our biggest issue is we don’t want our ticket takers handling money with the fans. We want to try to limit that with big crowd events as much as possible.”
Bingaman said the football passes with be $20 per person, which is $5 per game. Volleyball has six home matches this year and the pass is $30 per person per season.
Bingaman said the school is taking a big hit in revenue with the current plan.
“The way it looks like, yes,” he said. “Our football and volleyball gate are both [usually] spectacular.”
Volleyball only has six home matches due to playing in several weekend tournaments on the road.
Pioneer had the start of school delayed until Aug. 24 due to an elementary school teacher contracting COVID-19 and before showing symptoms and getting tested, the teacher had met with several staff members, exposing them. Those staff members need to quarantine until Aug. 20 because of the potential exposure.
Earlier, three Pioneer football players tested positive for COVID-19 but were asymptomatic and underwent a quarantine.
Bingaman said about the return to school on Aug. 24, “I think we’re back on track.”
The Pioneer football team opens at Lewis Cass Aug. 21 before hosting Winamac the following Friday. The Pioneer volleyball team opens at the county tourney on Saturday at Cass. The home opener is Aug. 27 against Caston.
Lewis Cass athletic director Greg Marschand said his school’s plans are not yet finalized.
“I’m in the process of working on it,” he said. ‘I’ve got an admin meeting on Thursday morning.
“I’ve been talking with the board of health and I’ll finalize everything with Dr. Garland, he being the superintendent will have the final say to make sure that we’re meeting the state guidelines.”
Marschand added the plan is to allow a limited number of fans at the county volleyball tournament on Saturday.
He added of his school’s plan, “It’ll be similar to what everybody else is doing following the governor’s mandate on venues.”
The Lewis Cass football team opens at home against Pioneer on Aug. 21.
Caston is similar to Lewis Cass in that its plan is not yet completed.
Caston recently hired an athletic director, Gina Hierlmeier, but her first day on the job is next Monday. She is still at Tippecanoe Valley through the rest of this week.
Caston principal Chuck Evans said, “We have met with our conference and have been in discussion to be similar as possible for football. We are currently tying some loose ends up on an attendance plan for our home events to be publicized to our community and opponents.”
Caston competes at the county volleyball tourney Saturday at Cass. The Caston football team opens at West Central Aug. 21 and hosts North Judson the following Friday. The Caston soccer team opens at home against Maconaquah on Monday.
Winamac athletic director Bill Ball said plans are in place to allow a limited amount of fans.
“For our football games we are limiting our home football games to 250 for the home, 250 for the visitors, which we’re going to take care of the families of the coaches, players, managers, cheerleaders. We will not have tickets available at the gate,” Ball said. “We contacted our parents, and opposing schools will take care of their tickets for our games and vice versa. Volleyball will be the same, we have 250 in our gym is the max we can have. Same thing, taking care of parents, players, coaches, managers for both schools. Right now there may be a few tickets available for volleyball matches depending on who our opponent is if they don’t use a lot of tickets and then we’ll make them available through online ticket purchase.”
Ball said of his department taking a financial hit: “Definitely.”
The Winamac football team opens at home against Knox on Aug. 21. The volleyball team is hosting an invitational on Saturday. The soccer team opens at John Glenn Tuesday. The soccer home opener is Aug. 24 against Morgan Township.