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No tickets at the door: Big changes in Delaware high school sports this fall

Brad Myers
Delaware News Journal

Like every other facet of life today, high school sports are going to be different during the coronavirus pandemic.

Everyone – athletes, coaches, trainers, spectators, media – is required to wear face coverings at all times. At many venues, health questions must be answered and temperatures must be checked.

Hand sanitizer and social distancing are the new norms. Spectators – when allowed – will be sparse.

With no spectators allowed inside Fusco Memorial Stadium, fans watch Delaware Military Academy's 3-2 boys soccer victory over Conrad from the tops of their vehicles on Monday. It was the opening day of the delayed fall high school sports season in Delaware.

But teenagers are adaptable, and the Concord Raiders volleyball team was already looking at the bright side after their season-opening, 3-0 victory over St. Georges on Tuesday.

“We definitely can’t do as much of our cheering and bonding stuff, but we figured stuff out,” junior Emma Staib said. “We worked together as a team more often. The masks require us to talk loud, talk to each other a lot more.

“… We’ve made it into a good thing. Even though it seems like a negative time, we’ve kind of just made the best of it.”

The crowd inside the small gym at Concord High School was limited to two spectators per player from each team. Fans were careful to follow instructions, leaving every other row vacant for separation.

Masked, socially distanced fans watch from the bleachers at the Concord High School gym as the Raiders downed St. Georges 3-0 on Tuesday in the volleyball season opener for both teams.

“I think it was set up really well,” said Christine Keenan, mother of Concord player Julie Keenan. “Everyone sat away from each other. The girls did very well. I think it was very well organized, and I felt very comfortable.”

John Ritter, father of St. Georges player Paige Ritter, wasn’t surprised by the precautions.

“I was expecting just what we see,” he said. “Separation, and masks on.”

It’s the way it will be as fall sports resume across Delaware this week. And while it’s not ideal, those able to play – and attend – appreciate all of the effort that has gone into reaching this point.

Concord’s Morgan Feil misses her fellow students, members of the football, cross country, boys soccer and field hockey teams who would occasionally rumble into the volleyball games and make some noise. But the senior is thankful to compete in her sport for one more season.

Water breaks require social distancing, as two Delaware Military Academy boys soccer players demonstrate during a 3-2 home win over Conrad on Monday.

“It means a lot, because I can actually finish my volleyball career,” Feil said. “… I’m really grateful that I’m able to play.”

Delaware Division of Public Health guidelines currently limit both outdoor and indoor gatherings to 250 people, unless a detailed plan is submitted and approved by DPH to allow for a larger audience.

It appears that few high schools have requested any waivers so far. As sports resume, athletic directors and other school officials are focused on making sure the games run smoothly and coronavirus protocols are followed.

Policies vary from school to school, district to district and conference to conference. But in sorting through all of the information received from athletic directors and others, one thing is universal.

No school is selling any tickets to any sports events at the door this fall.

Concord's Lucy Kingham sets as the Raiders defeat St. Georges 3-0 in the volleyball season opener for both teams on Tuesday at Concord.

Some schools are not allowing spectators. Many schools are allowing no fans from the visiting team at any events. And at most schools that are allowing spectators, tickets (usually one or two per athlete, band member or cheerleader) are only being distributed to the participants in advance, to allow their parents and guardians to attend.

Here are the school-by-school spectator policies The News Journal has been able to obtain. All information is subject to change at any time, and several schools have indicated that they may try to allow more spectators in the coming weeks if things go smoothly at the start.

A.I. du Pont: No spectators at home games. A.I. marching band and cheerleaders will perform at home games only.

Appoquinimink: Parents of each home and visiting team athlete may purchase two tickets. All tickets must be purchased in advance through ticketspicket.com. Drumline only at home football games. Only home team cheerleaders allowed.

Archmere: No spectators at the start of the season. No marching bands. Only home team cheerleaders allowed, no visiting cheerleaders.

With no spectators allowed inside Fusco Memorial Stadium, fans watch Delaware Military Academy's 3-2 boys soccer victory over Conrad from the tops of their vehicles on Monday.

Brandywine: Only home team fans allowed for football. Home and visiting team fans allowed at other sports. Two guests per athlete allowed. Drumline and cheerleaders will only perform at home games.

Caravel: Home team fans only, limited to parents of participants. No visiting team spectators allowed. No visiting team bands allowed. Cheerleaders are permitted.

Caesar Rodney: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete, band member and cheerleader will be issued two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

Cape Henlopen: Home team fans only. No visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete is limited to two guests. Home team band and cheerleaders only.

Charter of Wilmington: No spectators for first two weeks. Policy may be reevaluated later. Band and cheerleaders at home football games only.

Christiana: Each athlete will be issued one ticket. Cheerleaders at home games only. Once cleared, band will perform at home games only.

Concord: Only home team fans allowed for football. Home and visiting team fans allowed at other sports. Two guests per athlete allowed.

Conrad: No information available.

Delaware Military Academy: No spectators until Nov. 2. After Nov. 2, two parents per athlete will be allowed. No marching bands. Cheerleaders will be allowed.

Delcastle: Two spectators per athlete for both home team and visiting team. Two spectators per cheerleader for home team only. Free tickets will be distributed by coaches of the home and visiting teams. No marching bands. Only home team cheerleaders allowed, no visiting cheerleaders. Only home team spectators allowed at volleyball, no visiting team spectators.

Delmar: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete, band member and cheerleader will be issued two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

Dickinson: No spectators at home events. Policy may be reevaluated after Nov. 1.

Dover: No visiting team spectators. Each home player, coach, cheerleader and band member will receive one ticket. Dover band will perform only at home games, most likely remaining in bleachers. Home team cheerleaders will be allowed.

Early College HS @DSU: No sports this fall.

First State Military Academy: No information available.

Glasgow: No information available.

Hodgson: Two spectators per athlete for both home team and visiting team. Two spectators per cheerleader for home team only. Free tickets will be distributed by coaches of the home and visiting teams. No marching bands. Only home team cheerleaders allowed, no visiting cheerleaders. Only home team spectators allowed at volleyball, no visiting team spectators.

Howard: Two spectators per athlete for both home team and visiting team. Two spectators per cheerleader for home team only. Free tickets will be distributed by coaches of the home and visiting teams. No marching bands. Only home team cheerleaders allowed, no visiting cheerleaders. Only home team spectators allowed at volleyball, no visiting team spectators.

Indian River: For football and volleyball, home fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete will be issued two tickets. For boys soccer and field hockey, spectators will be limited to 250, may be shut off if necessary. Visiting team soccer fans must sit in visitors’ bleachers. Band and cheerleaders at home football games only. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

Lake Forest: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete, band member and cheerleader may purchase two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

Laurel: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete, band member and cheerleader will be issued two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

McKean: No spectators at any home sports events. Limited spectators will be considered in two weeks. Drum line and cheerleaders at home games only. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders.

Middletown: Parents of each home and visiting team athlete may purchase two tickets. All tickets must be purchased in advance through ticketspicket.com. Drumline only at home football games. Only home team cheerleaders allowed.

Milford: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete will be issued two tickets. Marching band and cheerleaders at home games only. No visiting team bands and cheerleaders allowed.

MOT Charter: No information available.

Mount Pleasant: Only home team fans allowed for football. Home and visiting team fans allowed at other sports. Two guests per athlete allowed. No marching bands or cheerleaders.

Newark: No information available.

Padua: No spectators allowed at any home sports events.

Polytech: No information available.

Red Lion Christian: No spectators allowed. Policy may be reevaluated Nov. 2.

St. Andrew’s: No sports this fall.

St. Elizabeth: No spectators for first two weeks. Policy may be reevaluated Nov. 2. No cheerleaders.

St. Georges: Two spectators per athlete for both home team and visiting team. Two spectators per cheerleader for home team only. Free tickets will be distributed by coaches of the home and visiting teams. No marching bands. Only home team cheerleaders allowed, no visiting cheerleaders. Only home team spectators allowed at volleyball, no visiting team spectators.

St. Mark’s: Home fans only, no visiting team spectators. Each athlete will be issued two tickets. Marching band and cheerleaders will perform at home games only.

Salesianum: No home events until Nov. 13. Details to be announced.

Sanford: No spectators at any home sports event.

Seaford: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete, band member and cheerleader will be issued two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

Smyrna: No information available.

Sussex Central: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each football player, band member and cheerleader will be issued two tickets. Band and cheerleaders will perform at home games only. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed. Volleyball attendance limited to four tickets per home athlete. Boys soccer, field hockey and cross country will be open, but monitored to stay below 250 people.

Sussex Tech: Home team fans only, no visiting team fans allowed. Marching band and cheerleaders at home games only. Each athlete, band member and cheerleader will receive two tickets. All spectators must be seated.

Tatnall: No football this fall. No spectators at any home sports event.

Tower Hill: No spectators at any home sports event.

William Penn: For football, each home team athlete, band member and cheerleader will be issued two tickets. Visiting team football players will also be issued two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders. For volleyball, each home and visiting team athlete will be issued two tickets. For cross country, field hockey and boys soccer, each home and visiting team athlete will be limited to two guests, with no seating available.

Wilmington Christian: No spectators at any home sports event.

Wilmington Friends: No spectators at any home sports event.

Woodbridge: Home team fans only, no visiting team spectators allowed. Each athlete will be issued two tickets. No visiting team bands or cheerleaders allowed.

Contact Brad Myers at bmyers@delawareonline.com. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ