Franklin Football team kicks off against Roosevelt at Franklin Campus. There was a large in-person viewer count at this varsity game.  Photo by Joseph Howitt.

With many people excited to return to watching Franklin sports from the bleachers, it’s no surprise that the school spirit has lifted.  There is, however, a problem arising from the reappearance of in-person attendance at the games. Safety is always the top priority at our school, especially now, and students and teachers alike are no stranger to wearing masks for seven hours straight. The same safety regulations are expected for sporting events, especially at Franklin home games. However, the recent incident that occurred a couple weeks ago near Franklin that involved a shooting blocks away from the campus brought up concerns with the safety of everyone in attendance at games. There are of course strict regulations on entry and population caps at games, especially indoor events, but there have been concerns regarding the recent adherence to the mask mandates in outside events. Overall, safety at Franklin is something that everyone has to work together on to maintain.

Athletic Director Matt York gave his insight on how Franklin emphasizes the safety of students, and what the security measures are, mainly for football and soccer games, which take place outside. Keep in mind, this is strictly Franklin athletics, and things may vary from school to school. “We make announcements several times throughout the games and also have event workers that remind students and adults about the safety protocols,” York explains. “However, we believe responsibility is also with spectators to follow OHA and OSAA policies and procedures which is no different than when being asked to shop at the local stores, getting haircuts, or any public venue that requires masks.” The students that regularly attend games are sure to notice that even though they are outside, there still are expectations that everyone should be taking the proper precautions for the betterment of the entire school community.  

Franklin has a series of measures to ensure safety before and after the games, including medical staff and security guards.  Taking in mind the things that PPS can’t control such as outside events, like the incident involving gunshots near Franklin, there are in fact things PPS can do if there are threats that involve the neighborhood such as greater security. There usually isn’t a regulation on who can attend the games, however it’s restricted to just students and families of students/players as of right now.

All venues have a population cap, but it hasn’t been lowered a large amount based on the pandemic. “Spectator caps are based on venue capacity.   So, if capacities are met, then we would close the doors. However, spectator capacities could be a way to manage the idea of safety. I do not think that is something we want to resort to, but it certainly is an option. Again, my value is centered around all of us taking on the responsibility of keeping our Franklin events safe because we love our community and want to support each other. It’s about making memories in high school that last a lifetime. I want nothing more than positive experiences for every student to walk the halls at Franklin,” York shares.  He explains how his main mission is to keep all sports events at the highest level of safety and as inclusive as possible. 

It takes many levels of hard work and consideration to make our campus the safest possible place for the attendants at the games. Every staff member at the game is making sure that the event is the best for everyone, families and students. The only way for Franklin to be the most safe is if everyone agrees to follow the guidelines. If we can achieve that, we are ready to have a full year of incredibly fun Franklin sports at our beautiful campus.

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