High School football and COVID 19

Captain Jake Schwinghammer takes the field

Captain Jake Schwinghammer takes the field

Hugh Witzmann, Reporter

At the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, things were different.  It was like Friday night lights went dark. August 9,  MSHSL.org (Minnesota State High School League) released a statement explaining how football will be played in the spring.  

The players and families were very disappointed when the initial announcement was made.  Senior Carter Ballard explained “I feel like school isn’t school without football. I really miss waking up and getting ready to hear the hype about the big game.”   

Nevertheless, following outrage from players and coaches, on September 21, the board of directors at MSHSL approved the return of football for a shortened season.  Many were skeptical if it was going to still be “football,” while senior captain Jacob Schwinghammer explained it best, “I couldn’t be happier to be playing football if I’m being honest. We never knew for certain whether a spring season would even happen.  I think as is right now, this is about how close to ‘normal’ our season and circumstances will get.”

Although football may be back for players and coaches, it is hardly back for fans.  Tartan’s new fan guidelines include a policy of each player receiving two tickets, which are usually given to parent(s).  Some students put together a Change.org petition in hopes to get a student section back with 339 supporters.                                  

Importantly, with Covid not controlled, this includes many limitations.  Sophomore Dylan Flaherty agrees, “It is very limited, but we must work with the guidelines in order to play. We distance at games by standing on cones six feet apart, and participate in wearing masks while not playing.” 

Only time will tell if the reversal decision was a good idea. After only two weeks of the adjusted Hybrid model learning, Tartan returned to fully online due to a small outbreak of Covid. As principal Ty Thompson reached out on October 8, through email,  she stated “I recognize that this is a difficult message to share since we were so excited to welcome students back into our building recently.”