ATHENS — The Athens School Board voted Tuesday to expand the amount of spectators allowed at both indoor and outdoor athletic events for the remainder of the fall season.

Before Tuesday’s vote, the school district had been limiting the number of people in the Athens High gym to 25, while 250 people were allowed at Alumni Stadium.

After a lengthy discussion, the school board agreed to allow up to 400 people inside Alumni Stadium for events such as football and soccer. When it comes to the school’s volleyball games at AAHS, each Athens player will receive two tickets for family members.

For varsity football games, each member of the football team, band and cheerleaders will also receive two tickets for family members. The opposing team’s seniors will receive two tickets as well.

“All spectators will be required to sit in a marked space to maintain social distancing,” School Board President John Johnson said while reading the new rules.

Face coverings will also be required at all times, according to Johnson, who also noted that people who live in the same house can sit together, but they must be at least six feet from other fans.

Individuals who do not maintain social distancing or wear face coverings will be asked to leave the stadium or gym.

“Spectators not wearing a face covering or following the social distancing rules will be asked to leave the Athens Area School District facilities. Furthermore, spectators removed from our facilities for violating the (rules) will not be permitted to return to our facilities for future events during the pandemic,” Johnson said.

Gov. Tom Wolf recently changed the rules for attendance at sporting events in the state. School districts can now have 20 percent capacity at an indoor venue with seating capacity of 1 to 2,000. It will be 15 percent for capacities of 2,001 to 10,000.

When it comes to outdoor events, it will be 25 percent capacity for facilities holding 1 to 2,000 people; 20 percent for facilities holding 2,001 to 10,000 and 15 percent (to a maximum of 7,500) for facilities holding over 10,000.

For the Athens gym that would make the capacity 291, while Alumni Stadium would be set at 496, according to Superintendent Craig Stage.

Tuesday’s vote was passed 8-1 with only Vice President Kathy Jo Minnick voting no.

Pat McDonald can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 228 or Follow Managing Editor Pat McDonald on Twitter @PatMcDonaldMT.

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