August 28, 2020,
As we conclude our first week of school and head towards our home football schedule (9/4 vs. Centennial), we wanted to share some information about decisions at Rams Stadium.
Fall Friday nights at Southeast Polk are special. There is no denying the tremendous spirit of our school and students and the pride that our community takes in supporting the experience that occurs at home football games. There is no better demonstration of the talent of our students than watching the Marching Rams, the Rhythamettes, and the cheerleaders, along with the Rams football team perform in front of a packed house.
However, due to safety concerns, we are forced to make changes to our normal routines this season. These difficult decisions are made with the health and safety of everyone involved as our priority. Our goal is for our students to be able to continue to attend school in an in-person format and our activities continue their entire seasons. These goals required that we take measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
There have been many sacrifices made by many parties this Fall. Our football schedule was cut from 9 to 7 games. Cheerleaders are only allowed to participate at home games. The competitive marching band season was largely cancelled.
We have also been forced to examine our ability to host our spectators. Our current situation demands that we practice social distancing in our grandstand. Our plan is to use the same plan that was put in place for graduation and segment the bleachers into pods of 4. This will allow families of the football and the cheer teams to sit together to maximize the capacity of the stadium. Breaking the seating into pods of 2 will reduce the available number of seats by an additional 35% when taking into consideration social distancing requirements. In either scenario, it proved difficult to be able to provide seating for the families of all groups that are normally represented at a Friday night home football game.
The CIML Conference mandates that we supply the visiting team with a minimum of 160 tickets. This arrangement consumes the seating available on the visitor’s side of the stadium. Our current stadium seating capacity does not approach the capacity of our peers. It is impossible for us with a maximum capacity of 3700 seats to accommodate the same amount of parents and fans as stadiums that have capacities that far exceed that of our own.
We have been engaged in continuing dialogue with our student leaders and the directors of our Marching Band and the Rhythamettes about how we could ensure all groups were able to participate in the Friday night experience at Southeast Polk. As a result of these discussions, there will be a modified student section behind the South endzone where senior students will be able to watch the game while safely socially distancing. Seniors will be selected by a weekly lottery to be able to attend.
Additionally, the Rhythamettes and the Marching Rams will each perform at one home football game during the season. We look forward to showcasing their talents in front of our home crowd. We will work with both groups to make sure that senior families have grandstand seating, and that the families of underclassmen have a viewing opportunity of the performance.
While we understand that these adjustments are not ideal, We feel they are necessary given both the current circumstances and what we must do to maintain a safe environment. Thank you in advance for your understanding and your cooperation as we continue to work together to protect the health of our students, staff and community.
Southeast Polk High School