High school football has started, but are changes on the way?

High school football has started, but are changes on the way?
(Source: Sarah Shaffer)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - School districts plan to review safety guidelines ahead of football games this week to address increasing COVID fan safety.

The excitement about the return of Friday Night Lights may have put safety on the back burner for some high school football fans across the state.

Game footage and pictures are popping up on social media, appearing to tell a story of big crowds and few COVID safety measures enforced at games.

“I saw the pictures,” said Dr. Michael Saag, UAB Infectious Disease Doctor. ”Crowds required people to wear masks to get into the game, but once they got there they crowded together and the masks were let down.”

Dr. Saag says he’s concerned about what the pictures may mean for COVID numbers as the country tries to work its way back to normal.

“I think the concern is the obvious one about the spread of the virus. We don’t know if it’s happening and to what degree,” said Dr. Saag.

Locally, Jasper City Schools says it will continue to review safety measures at games as the season moves forward.

Jefferson County Schools and Birmingham City School leaders say they are monitoring safety guidelines at games. The athletic director for Birmingham City School says the district is partnering with the police department to help enforce safety measures at games.

Some fans expressed concerns about crowds at Helena’s game last Friday against Dallas County where they saw lots of people and only a little social distancing. Shelby County School leaders say the stadium was at 33 percent capacity and less than 1/2 of the tickets available were sold at the game.

In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Lewis Brooks said, “We are aware of a few concerns of community members about the capacity of our stadiums this past week. We are revisiting the number of tickets to be sold. We ask that everyone that attends high school football games and other athletic events adhere to all mitigation guidelines related to COVID-19.”

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.