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Hillsborough school district to start allowing more spectators at sporting events amid coronavirus pandemic

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The cheers at high school football games usually fill the air at schools all over Hillsborough County this time of year. But these days, something else fills that air that has given people pause.

Hillsborough County School District Superintendent Addison Davis sent an email to parents and staff this week announcing revised plans for fans at sporting events amid the coronavirus crisis.

“After consultation with our public health partners at TGH/USF Health, and based on the state’s transition to Phase 3, we will begin opening our athletic competitions to a larger number of spectators,” the superintendent said.

Schools had required guest lists for spectators. But now, anyone can sign up for tickets.

“Really it’s not about more spectators, it’s about the process of letting spectators into the games,” Athletics Director Lanness Robinson said.

Fans must not be in groups more than 10, district guidelines say, and they should maintain six feet of separation.

Dr. Jay Wolfson of the University of South Florida tells 8 On Your Side two places have recently pulled off big crowds the right way and the district should take note.

Disney has done a fantastic job of protecting its folks coming from the parking lot into the venue,” Wolfson said. “And most recently when the Lightning, when they brought the Cup back, the inside celebration was nicely done.”

He thinks school staff members should monitor people’s actions as they come and go from sporting venues.

The district plans to allow up to 400 people into volleyball contests and 1,500 into football games.

“I think as long as you are in a setting where you can wear a mask and be socially distant, I don’t see a problem with it,” Tampa resident Andrea Sciortino said of the policies.

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