The Chadron Public Schools administration and Board of Education are upset with the Nebraska School Activities Association’s COVID-19 winter sports protocols on attendance at sporting events.
The rules released Monday by the NSAA ignored the reduced limits put into place this month by Gov Pete Ricketts that increased attendance to 50% of venue capacity and stayed with his earlier limit of 25%.
Chadron High Principal Jerry Mack told the school board Monday night that at 50% capacity, space could be found for students and the pep band – but not at 50%.
The NSAA rules limit attendance to immediate family members, expanded to include grandparents.
Mack said he thought there was enough room at the Bird Cage to allow each player up to 6 family members at a game if they clear out the crowd after girls’ basketball games and disinfect before letting in the crowd for the boys games.
School Board President Tom Menke says the NSAA decision to stay with the smaller capacity is aimed at eastern Nebraska, where COVID-19 numbers remain higher than in the Panhandle – one of many reasons board members are frustrated.
New Chadron Superintendent Ginger Meyer told the board she’d called NSAA executive director Jay Bellar, one of her superintendents when she was a teacher, to gently but firmly push for the NSAA to adopt the governor’s relaxed limits but to no avail.
When board members raised the possibility of just ignoring the NSAA protocols, Mack read a section that said schools who failed to obey faced censure, fines, and the possibility of being excluded from state playoffs.