Rutherford County kicks off football season with new COVID-19 protocols

High School Sports

ROCKVALE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Rutherford County is kicking off football season with in-person attendance at Rockvale High School Thursday night against LaVergne.

The game is sold out, but following TSSAA guidlines, that’s only 850 tickets.

“Hayden Chambless number 59, he’s our son, number 56. Our grandson is Landon Anderson,” said Lisa Chambless outside the stadium Thursday afternoon, as she and her family set up signs they had made for the players.

“We’re a huge football family, five boys, they’ve all pretty much played and we’re excited to see the season kick-off and wish them luck tonight,” she said.

But that means following a list of guidelines.

“There are protocols from the TSSAA, one of them is everybody has to have their temperature taken when they come in, then they have to answer the COVID questions and masks are mandatory,” Rockvale Principal Steve Luker told News 2.

In addition, tickets are sold prior to the game, a total of 850, first to students and then to the community.

Once fans are inside, there’s sectioned seating.

“We numbered the seats with a magic marker basically, and then we taped off areas that fans are not allowed to go in or sit-in,” Luker explained, adding it was a lot of work from all of his staff.

“There’s a lot riding on this game, we’re gonna get this right. We’ve been working hard to do that. Let me just say, it’s for the kids, that’s the reason we’ve been working so hard, to make sure they get a chance to play,” he said.

Only the home team band can attend games and cheerleaders must social distance as well.

“We’ve been on hold, we’ve been on pins and needles, but I’m really glad that TSSAA and the schools worked together to make it happen. ‘Cause this is what these boys live for, it’s important, it’s part of their teenage years that they can never get back. We want to see it come off, and we’ll do whatever we gotta do to make it happen,” said Chambless.

It’s a season of change for football. From the NFL to high school, News 2 digs deeper into the impact COVID-19 is having on the game.
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