Attendance at Fargo, West Fargo high school sporting events will be limited

Attendance for fans at North Dakota high school sporting events this fall are going to be limited due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO — Fan attendance will be limited at local high school sporting events this fall.

On the eve of boys soccer action kicking off in North Dakota, Fargo Public Schools released its updated fan attendance guidelines for fall sports on Monday, Aug. 17. Only essential personnel and a limited number of fans will be allowed to attend.

“I think the main goal — I know it’s an inconvenience — but the number one goal is to be able to continue saying that we’re still playing,” Fargo Davies activities director Lenny Ohlhauser said. “That’s the No. 1 message we want to get out. It’s going to be an unusual year as far as spectating, but at least we can say we’re playing. It’s going to look different and it’s an inconvenience, but it’s about the athletes and getting them to be able to play.”

For ticketed events at FPS schools — football, volleyball, boys soccer, and girls swimming and diving — vouchers will be distributed to athletes for both the home and visiting rosters. Those vouchers can then be used to purchase a ticket at the facility. The number of vouchers distributed will be determined by the ND Smart Restart guidelines and the size and capacity of the facility.


Fan attendance at North Dakota high school sporting events are going to look different this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. David Samson / The Forum

For non-ticketed events — cross country, tennis, and golf — there will not be any vouchers distributed, but FPS asks that attendance be limited to two guests per athlete.

Wearing a mask is mandatory for all guests at all times at indoor facilities and at outdoor facilities when social distancing is not possible.

“Fargo Public Schools policy is that when you are indoors, you are masked up,” Ohlhauser said. “We ask that all spectators indoors be masked up, and to practice social distancing. And then the outdoors is a little bit different. Masks are required if social distancing is not able to be maintained. With our two-ticket limits, We are easily able to handle social distancing. So if they wish to take their mask off, that would be okay because of the social distancing at the outdoor facilities.”

Despite West Fargo Sheyenne hosting a home soccer match on Tuesday, Aug. 18, fan attendance guidelines are not expected to be coming from the school district until later this week at the earliest.

For now, Sheyenne activities director Greg Limke said the school is limiting attendance to 40% capacity at events. Some of the rows at the stadium will also be blocked off to help with social distancing.


“In the past there hasn’t been anything near that number of capacity (for soccer),” Limke said. “We expect that we’ll be in good shape for tomorrow’s event. If we get close to that, then I guess we’ll have to make a decision.”

West Fargo High School activities director Jay DeCann said he and Limke have discussed some ideas about how they would enforce the attendance limitations, but they would likely not use a voucher system like Fargo Public Schools.

Whatever is decided, DeCann said the guidelines will be uniform for both West Fargo and Sheyenne.

“We’re working on our capacity limits,” DeCann said. “Every facility is a little bit different. Our gym at West Fargo is definitely different than (the one) at Sheyenne and that goes for our football stadium and soccer stadium too.”

Ohlhauser said a major downside of the voucher system the Fargo district is using is that it will vastly limit the number of students able to attend events, as he anticipates most of the vouchers will go to the players' parents.

“It’s really up to each athlete. If they had a ticket left over, they could give it to a friend,” Ohlhauser said. “But that’s the hard part, you’ve got to control who is coming into your facilities. Our student body will be the big difference right there across the board in all of our sports. But the main thing is that we want to play the whole season. And that is what has to happen to meet the main goal of playing.“

For fans not in attendance, FPS said it plans to stream home varsity contests on the district’s YouTube pages whenever possible. The district has been working to make sure each school has the technology and resources to stream as many games as it can.

At Sheyenne, every Mustangs home football game will be streamed by Magnitude Sports. DeCann said Monday he was looking at options to stream more games at West Fargo.

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