ALTO, Texas (KTRE) - High school stadiums are the place to be on Friday nights but COVID-19 is changing that this year.
Communities all over East Texas come together at the stadium to watch the student-athletes represent their towns. It is what makes high school football special in East Texas. Due to COVID-19 many of those fans will not be getting into games this year under the UIL guidelines of schools only being able to have 50% capacity.
Big districts like Longview and Henderson have put their season tickets on hold for the 2020 season. Whitehouse is planning to accommodate all of their season ticket holders. Districts are having to make tough decisions.
Alto is a 2A school with a 6A atmosphere. The stands are packed and the band is jamming to make it a great place for the home team and a not so great place for the visiting team. With the UIL guidelines that will not be the case this year.
Alto recently announced that any varsity football player, varsity cheerleader, mascot, band member, and auxiliary member will be reserved 2 tickets for each game. Fans that have lifetime season tickets from a campaign in the 1990s were given their tickets, although only two will be next to each other, meaning the allotment for a family could be spread out across the entire home side.
The rest of the reserved seat holders were put into a drawing for the remaining seats.
“We have to do right by our kids and our families,” Alto Athletic Director Ricky Meeks said. “At the end of the day, we want to get everybody in that we can but you have to be patient and understand we are trying to take care of our kids first.”
Any fan attending the game will have to fill out a health screening form before entering the stadium. Masks will be required by all under state guidelines. Aisles must be kept empty to allow for two-way traffic According to the district’s site, there will be no victory lines, no tunnel crews, no gathering on the field after the game, no Coach of the Week, no extra photographers, no Junior Jackets, no Mini Cheer, no Mini Twirlers.
”We are still in a pandemic,” Meeks said. “The safety of our kids and our fans and the community is number one. Us being able to do what we are doing right now is a luxury. We are going to make sure everyone is safe so we can have football games in Alto or wherever we are going that Friday night.”