EL PASO, Texas — The El Paso Independent School District will allow fans in the stands when high school football games begin on Oct. 1, the district announced Monday.
All games will have limited stadium seating to allow for social distancing and fans will be required to wear face masks at all times, officials said.
During the opening games of the football season, played Oct. 1-3, seniors will be saluted and fans for those games will be limited to parents of players, band members and the cheerleader squads.
Beginning with the Oct. 8 games, stadiums will be open to all with limited capacity and families of students will get first access to tickets. The district said fan capacity will vary by stadium.
“Football is something familiar and it is a tradition," said EPISD spokeswoman Melissa Martinez. "It's going to look a little different this year and the experience might be a little different this year, but with everyone's cooperation everybody will be able to take part for sure."
As the season continues EPISD will allow 50 percent capacity in their stadiums per University Interscholastic League policy. However capacity at these games will once again be reserved for students participating in the event.
“We need to have seating for the band and for the cheer and for the dance squad." Martinez said. "Once we have all those folks seated, then whatever is left over will be available for the public and of course that varies from stadium to stadium."
Tickets will also now be sold online. It won't be as easy as just buying a ticket. The district wants to ensure parents supporting their children are the first to get tickets to the game.
“We are introducing an online ticketing system and we will open it up first to those parents to ensure they get a ticket to see their child. Then we will open it up for the general public," Martinez said.
EPISD officials also said Monday that they were now working on a plan for the near future to allow fans at indoor athletic events, which is currently prohibited.
This move comes after EPISD last week cancelled volleyball and other indoor games with the Ysleta Independent School District schools because that district was allowing fans to be in attendance. EPISD, which last week also pushed back the start of in-person school classes, has cited concerns over the rising spread of Covid-19 in the community.
The dispute over allowing sports spectators had also garnered further attention following an ABC-7 report in which some parents questioned why EPISD Superintendent Juan Cabrera had attended a volleyball scrimmage with his daughter; he was caught on camera not wearing a face mask as he watched the indoor competition.