football generic

High school sports in Delaware began their abbreviated and delayed campaigns on Monday, but some parents have been left behind closed doors.

A combination of pandemic gathering limit and staffing concerns led to the decision by many schools, including the Diamond State and Independent Conferences, to ban all spectators at high school games.

There were seven field hockey games scheduled for Tuesday in Delaware. Laurel, Cape Henlopen, Milford, Polytech, Smyrna, and Caesar Rodney banned all visiting spectators while Wilmington Friends' game with Sanford was played in front of no fans at all.

Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said she was in contact with one unnamed athletic director who said schools are still working their way through the various guidelines on the field.

"Right now they want to get the kids back playing. Once they feel comfortable they can do that way, I think we may see more schools allowing spectators who aren't right now."

Rattay also brought up something they learned from summer youth sports, where she felt mask use was scattered. That has been forced in DIAA regulations, which are as strict as any in the country, and certainly tighter than neighboring states, although visitor spectator restrictions are in place in some parts of Pennsylvania.

"One of the biggest challenges we've seen with youth sports has often been parents not wanting to social distance and wear face coverings and rather [they] look at this as social activities." 

In an effort to try to placate some of the concern parents, some, but not all, schools have been creating single-camera livestreams to attempt to give parents an option to watch their kids play.

At Tuesday's coronavirus press conference, Governor John Carney said he "sympathizes" with the parents and can remember when he was trying to hustle home from work on a Friday night and couldn't always make sporting events, having to listen to play-by-play on a telephone at times.

He had this message for parents:

"We're in a period of COVID-19, and those kind of gatherings create really risky situations," the governor said. 

When asked at Tuesday's press conference about the status of schools' outdoor reopening plans, Dr. Rattay said all but two had been approved, and the remaining two requests were pending, with more information needed. It was was unclear whether those plans include any schools trying to go above the 250-person state-mandated outdoor gathering limit.