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Minnesota Department of Education issues updated guidance on spectators for indoor events

MARSHALL — Hours before hundreds of volleyball teams around the state kicked off their seasons on Thursday, an announcement came from the Minnesota State High School League regarding the presence of spectators/fans in attendance.

After updated information was released from the Minnesota Department of Education, the MSHSL announced that spectators will be allowed to attend indoor events, including sports, concerts, plays, competitions, performances and other similar events.

“It’s certainly a good opportunity for parents to watch their kids play,” Marshall activities director Bruce Remme said. “(There’s) no doubt it made those folks happy.”

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, no spectators were allowed. Many parents and players called for the MSHSL to reconsider its stance on spectators for indoor events. State Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, was among those who urged them to revisit things and was glad to see the League change their minds.

“I’m extremely happy that the Minnesota State High School League has made this change,” Swedzinski said.“I think the opportunities, especially for seniors, to invite friends and family to come and see them in their final year, will be memories that will last a lifetime. I just wish everyone best of luck this fall in their sports and I’m glad parents will finally be able to join them for indoor activities.”

Per the new guidelines, each team/group at an indoor event will be allowed up to two spectators per participant. Spectators must be separated by at least 6 feet between households/spectator groups and the event location cannot exceed 25 percent of its total capacity, or 250 people. If 12 feet cannot be maintained in indoor events between participants and spectators, participants must be included in the total capacity count.

School districts and charter schools also must require reservations for tickets in advance. Remme said each team in the Big South Conference will be using conference passes for its participants and will be keeping track of who attends which event throughout the season.

“Each participant will get two conference passes; since volleyball is playing a conference-only schedule, the Big South Conference issued official passes for each participant,” Remme said. “Each one will be numbered to each specific player and tracked at each match throughout the season. It’s a common pass used by all of the schools in the conference and each school will also manage their own passes, so we will know who attended which match and where.”

As Marshall began its season in Pipestone on Thursday, Remme said he’s excited for families to be able to watch their kids participate in the activity they love.

“We’re excited for families to watch students live and have that opportunity,” he said.

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