OUR VIEW: If you go to football, follow the rules

Published 10:50 am Wednesday, August 26, 2020

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We’re still a week and a few days from the return of Georgia high school football, but other states around the country have already started back.

Alabama had its first high school games of the season on Thursday and Friday, and the reviews were mixed. At some games, it was clear that fans and students didn’t take social distancing seriously, and the photos that went around on social media and in news stories show the lack of concern.

At other games, it was clear that the stands were separated into family groupings, and it was a much better look in the middle of this pandemic.

The truth is that school administrators can reduce capacity and require masks for entry until they turn blue in the face, but it’s up to parents and students to take personal responsibility for doing the right thing once in the stadium.

Last week, the Troup County School System announced that it would allow 30 percent capacity at Callaway Stadium, meaning 750 people on each side of the stands. When you add in the teams, cheerleaders, band members, media and other administrators, there’s going to be around 2,000 people in the stadium on Friday nights.

We think that decision was a good one, although it is going to be a hit for the school’s athletic budgets. Obviously, health and safety is a lot more important than funding — something the board noted — but even with higher ticket prices, it’s going to be difficult to recoup the dollars that were normally collected during football season.

But most importantly, we hope that the 1,500 people admitted into home games at the stadium do the right thing by wearing masks, separating into family groupings and follow the rules put forth by TCSS.

No, football season won’t be the same as it was in previous years, but at least it is football season.

That’s a win, and we should celebrate it by social distancing, staying with family members and preventing the spread of this virus. Hopefully, high-fives and chest bumps will return in time for next season.