Week 4 of the high school football season will feature more fans in the stands now that Riverside County has moved to the Orange Tier of reopening.
Desert Sands Unified School District is now allowing four family members per athlete to attend high school sporting events. Previously, each athlete was only allowed to have two parents or guardians in attendance.
DSUSD spokesperson Mary Perry said that each family member will be required to wear a wristband for entry.
She said family members who do not live in the same household must also maintain social distance.
It all kicks off Thursday night at Palm Desert High School as the Aztecs go for their fourth straight league title against Rancho Mirage.
“Tough year for everybody, so having more people be able to watch our students compete in a football game is real fun and exciting for them because they’ve been waiting a long time," said Palm Desert's principal Dennis Zink. "We also are adding our band for the first time tonight because they’re the same restrictions being eased a bit so it’s exciting to have them here and their parents, so it’ll be the first time they get to see their kids perform for a year as well, so lots of excitement at Palm Desert tonight.”
“I’m smiling so big under my mask. I know you can’t see it but you know it’s great to just be back at the games, it’s great to have fans in attendance, but the fact that we can now have people in our bubble like grandparents or siblings here, it’s just, it’s so great to be able to have them come watch their siblings and their family members. We’re super excited that we have the opportunity,” said Mindy Larson, who's daughter is a cheerleader at Palm Desert.
“All of us were pretty excited… not just for the fact that we’re watching our kids play but also to see the other kids play. You know, I’ve seen a lot of these kids grow up in the valley, especially kids here at Rancho Mirage High School and the former schools we’ve played, so it’s been a great opportunity for us to spend some time and see these kids do what they love to do,” said Matthew Martello, who's son plays for the Aztecs.
According to Coachella Valley's head football coach Bill Johnson, the Arabs will follow the same rules as it pertains to fans this Friday in the famous Bell Game against rival Indio. Each athlete will now be allowed to have four family members attend the game.
“They’ve been doing this every year for so many years. It’s multigenerational. Folks who have played in bell games will be in the stands… and the cool thing that we just found out is that our district as well is going to allow four spectators per player and per coach, so we’re going to have a few people in the stands. It’ll be a little bit louder than it was maybe in the last game, last two games, and I think that’s going to mean a lot to the community just to feel that energy. Even if it’s not the same, it’s still going to remind us that hey… this is a bell game and this is this thing that we come together for every year,” said Johnson.
Coachella Valley High School is a part of the Coachella Valley Unified School District.
Palm Springs Unified School District's spokesperson Joan Boiko said, because the district's staff is on spring break, policy changes have not yet been discussed. She said she expects it to be talked about next week.