Cullman High School is implementing new safety and health protocols in preparation for basketball season this winter, in an effort to comply with state guidance. The biggest change fans need to be aware of is that attendance will be capped at 33 percent of gym capacity. Athletic Director Mark Stephens said the plans are being put in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while ensuring student-athletes have the best opportunity to complete the season.
The moves are being made to follow guidance from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), and the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA). The major section of the ADPH health order that affects basketball this year comes from paragraph 11.b and c, which states: “Spectators are allowed to attend athletic events, but attendance at events should be reduced significantly so that spectators are not within six feet of someone from another household, and spectators shall wear a mask or other facial covering at all times while within six feet of a person from another household.”
The new protocols are designed to limit large crowds per the state order, and ensure those in attendance are doing as much as possible to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Under the new protocols, spectators that enter the facility must wear a mask and maintain social distancing of six-feet between family groups. Individuals not in compliance may be asked to leave the facility. Spectators should also self-screen before attending events. Anyone who exhibits symptoms or is currently under quarantine should not attend.
Capacity of indoor venues will be limited to 33 percent or less. Spectators will not be allowed to gather in the doorways or along the walls of the gymnasium. To ensure spectators do not sit within 6’ of the playing surface, a portion of the bleachers will be closed off near the player’s benches.
Students in the student section will be required to wear a mask and social distance as much as possible. Any student not adhering to the state health order will be asked to leave the facility. Home and away coaches are responsible for checking the temperature of coaches, players, and participants prior to each competition. The host team will be responsible for checking temperatures of gate workers and officials prior to the event.
Coaches must conduct daily symptom assessments for themselves and their players. Anyone experiencing symptoms should not attend. Officials must conduct symptom assessments of themselves. Anyone experiencing symptoms should not attend.
Game balls will be supplied by the home team; visiting teams will be asked to bring their own balls for warm up. Locker rooms will be provided for participating teams and will be thoroughly sanitized between games. Team bench seats will be staggered to allow for social distancing and will be sanitized between games. Due to extremely limited capacity in the Cullman High School gym, officials ask visiting cheerleaders not attend basketball games on campus.
Concessions will be served. Concession workers must wear masks and gloves.
Credentialed media members/photographers will be allowed into the gymnasium for home contests. Masks must be worn and social distancing is required. Media members may not be within 6’ of the playing surface. (Otherwise, only officials, coaches, athletic trainers, and players are allowed into the gym.)
For those unable to attend, contests will be live-streamed on the subscription BNN Network.
“We understand that these procedures and protocols cannot fully prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Stephens said. “We are solely following the guidance of the ADPH, ALSDE, and AHSAA in an effort to provide a season for our student-athletes. These procedures and protocols are subject to change as needed.”
Another effort to limit contact will see Cullman High School utilize digital ticketing for all events. Fans must pre-purchase tickets online at GoFan.co before entering the facility. Ticket purchases are final and will not be refunded unless the event is cancelled. With capacity limited, tickets will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. AHSAA passes of the two schools competing, media credentials, and Cullman Basketball Season Passes are the only passes that will be accepted at games on campus at Cullman High School — and those will count toward the total number of allowable spectator capacity.
Cullman City Schools has more than 3,000 students and encompasses Cullman High School (Grades 9-12), Cullman Middle School (Grades 7-8), East Elementary School (Grades 2-6), West Elementary School (Grades 2-6), and Cullman City Primary School (Grades K-1). Cullman City Schools also hosts the Cullman City Head Start Program. Cullman City Schools consistently ranks as one of the top school systems in College ACT scores in the state of Alabama.