District to fans: Wear masks, or go home

Siuslaw School District is going to the mat to protect its student-athletes, mandating masks at all events. Mask up, or go home.

The wearing of masks at Siuslaw Vikings athletics events will be strictly enforced, the district has announced.

It is that, or face the possibility of suspending season play, Siuslaw athletic director Chris Johnson suggested in a release Wednesday.

"We don't want to pause," Johnson said. "We are committed to providing as normal an athletic experience for our student athletes as possible.

"We want to play full seasons. We want to finish the winter season and have opportunities for postseason competition. We saw how exciting those could be in the fall. 

"We want to allow spectators in the stand.  If this is going to happen we need the cooperation of our community."

Siuslaw Superintendent Andy Grzeskowiak released the following memo in response to new guidelines from the Oregon School Activities Association:

"Extracurricular sports and activity events are held for the benefit of the students. During these events as a necessity of competition, these students are unmasked while on the court, the wrestling mat, or upon the concert stage.

"Unmasked spectators put those student-athletes and activity participants at an unnecessary risk. 

"If sporting contests and activity events are going to continue with spectators in the stands, the health and safety of the student-athletes must come first. Game play will not start or continue until all spectators are in a proper face-covering:

  • Individual reminders will no longer be given by staff walking through the crowd.
  • A general announcement will be made over the public address system to address mask issues.
  • When all spectators are properly masked, contests will begin or resume play.

"For the safety of student-athletes, staff, and other spectators to enjoy the scheduled competition or performance, those that chose not to abide by the legal indoor mask mandate will be asked to leave the school grounds.

"Often, there are other options to see games, competitions and events: 

  • Watch sports events from the comfort of your own home on the NFHS Network feed.
  • Watch student activity events from the comfort of your own home on the Siuslaw YouTube feed.

"While student-athletes will be encouraged to use their water bottles to stay hydrated during contests, all outside food, beverages and concessions cannot be consumed in the gymnasiums. Concessions will continue to be available, but all spectator food and beverages must be consumed outside of the gyms in a courtyard or other designated area."



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