WHEATFIELD — COVID concerns have put a damper on Kankakee Valley’s winter sport seasons.
KV’s girls’ basketball team has been unable to tip off the season due to COVID cases at other schools, with games against North Newton, Valparaiso and Kouts postponed over the past two weeks.
Boys’ basketball is scheduled to begin next week, but there are concerns on whether games will be played on time. The same goes for wrestling and swimming.
KV Athletic Director John Gray said sports at KV’s schools can proceed if athletes and fans follow guidelines set forth by the Jasper County Health Department.
“Each day, based on the number of cases and recommendations from the health department, will determine if fans are allowed at events, if the fans will just be parents only or what percentage we are allowed to have attend,” Gray said on KV’s athletic website on Monday. “We as a community need to be flexible and understanding. Each school will be different.”
Jasper County’s risk factor for COVID cases in at the orange level, with 100-200 cases reported weekly. It falls short of the red level, which is the highest, but restrictions must be put in place.
It is recommended that attendance at basketball and wrestling events not exceed 25% of capacity. Gray said this will be regulated at the ticket tables for each sport.
“When we are at our maximum capacity percentage for basketball and wrestling,” Gray added, “we will no longer sell tickets. We will not accept passes at the games. This includes senior citizen or lifetime passes.”
There will be an area for handicap and elderly people at basketball games and there will also be a student only section.
No fans will be allowed to sit behind the players.
“Everyone else is expected to sit in the upper balcony,” Gray said.
This will help with social distancing.
At wrestling meets, fans will only be allowed in the upper decks and balconies.
With swimming, only KV parents can attend and there will be no visiting fans. There will be concessions at games, but the menu will be limited.
“Everyone in attendance is expected to wear a mask, social distance and people that are considered high risk should stay home,” Gray continued.
Fans are expected to exit the gym or pool area immediately after each event. Failure to follow the rules can result in removal from the event or all events.
“We must do these things in order to allow fans to attend and our kids the ability to play,” Gray added.
If the county goes to the red level, only parents will be allowed to attend games and concessions may not be available. Games will consist primarily of parents and essential workers.
Gray reminded fans that most games in the gym will be streamed live on the NFHS broadcast network. There is a subscription charge to watch these events online.
“For swimming, we are looking at our options to stream events and will get that out to the public as soon as we can,” Gray said.
The Lady Kougars were scheduled to play their first game Tuesday, Nov. 17 at home against Michigan City Marquette. The girls’ swim team had its meet with Twin Lakes set for Nov. 19 canceled since Twin Lakes shut its doors to in-person education until Thanksgiving.
The girls’ game with Highland set for Friday, Nov. 20 is still on the schedule.