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Play safe upon return to field

The gridiron roars back to life tomorrow night with the return of high school football to the playing field.

Not only do the local athletes get to play, their parents will be allowed to do what parents enjoy most — witnessing the joy of their lives, their children, as they share their athleticism and talents with the world around them.

Until recently, the state had decided that games would be permitted but without fans in the stands. Then the governor changed course, allowing limited fans so long as they do not exceed the restriction on gatherings of 250 people in an outdoor setting.

That limit of 250 people includes members of both teams, along with coaches, athletic directors and other personnel, bands, cheerleaders and stadium workers. Once they are accounted for, that cuts into the number of fans who will be admitted into the stands, regardless of how big or how small the facility is.

Dr. Robert Lombardi, PIAA executive director, had a solid suggestion that would allow 25 percent of a facility’s capacity rather than a hard-cap limit. It is similar to the limits that have been placed on restaurants. It would allow for 500 people at a stadium with seating for 2,000 people, such as the one at Williamsport Area High School.

The Legislature also is taking up the issue of limits on fans with House Bill 2787, which seeks to put the decision regarding fans into the hands of local school boards.

We believe local school boards should be the deciding force on this issue. They are most familiar with what is going on in their area and best equipped to make these decisions.

And while we support local people making local decisions, we also believe that those attending the games must adhere to the measures that have been prescribed for the overall safety of our community.

That means wear a mask and participate in social distancing without exception.

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