Parents, school officials respond to mask mandate at high school football games

Masks at football games

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Students and community members head to the stands on Friday nights, but some are missing one very important thing, masks.

WAFF has received several calls from concerned parents after weeks of high school football games with crowded stands. Primary complaints include a lack of social distancing, and a lack of mask wearing.

Jonathan Dennison said what started out as a family outing to watch his daughter play in the band at the Grissom vs. Sparkman High School Football Game this week quickly turned into frustration.

“You know we all three had our masks on," Dennison said. "When we started walking up to the stands I would say 75 to 80 percent of the people were not wearing masks.”

Dennison said his family only stayed for the first half of the game, and during that time he did hear the announcer ask spectators to think about their safety.

“One time in the first half the announcer did remind people to social distance and to please wear a mask," Dennison said.

Dennison said this warning was basically ignored. Fast forward to the game on September 11 where our cameras found a majority of spectators following masking guidelines.

Craig Williams with Huntsville City Schools said school leaders who were also at the game, don’t agree with Dennison’s accounts.

“We do require that fans wear masks to the game," Williams said. "Fans are checked for masks when entering the stadium and not only when entering the stadium.They need to wear them. They need to make sure that mask is worn at all times as well.”

Williams went on to explain more safety measures like purchasing tickets online ahead of time to prevent people congregating in one area, and special seating.

“We have limited stadium capacity to about 50 percent and we have marked off for social distancing for people to understand those six foot regulations," Williams said.

Williams also told WAFF they had school officials on megaphones Thursday night reminding students to wear their masks.

He said ultimately if someone isn’t following the proper protocol they have a right to ask them to leave.

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