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Updated State Guidance Addresses Spectator Limitations at Indoor MSHSL Competitions


October 9, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Education revised its Guidance for Minnesota Public Schools: 2020-2021 School Year Planning document today. New/updated guidance on Pages 20-21 addresses spectator limitations at indoor Minnesota State High School League competitions.

Use of Facilities for Non-School Activities

[ADDED 10/08/20]: Definitions

"Participants" include athletes, performers, competitors, student workers and coaches/advisors.

"Spectators" include anyone present who is not a participant.

"Event" includes all indoor sports, concerts, plays, competitions, performances and any other similar events that have spectators.

"Instruction" means any use by students or staff during the school day, including music education classes, physical education classes, meal service, and childcare before and after regular instruction.

[ADDED 10/08/20]: Spectators at Activities, Athletics, Clubs, Youth Sports and School Events

Sporting events are high risk for COVID-19 transmission, and are further high risk for activities that promote airborne particles of COVID-19. The following applies to all indoor sports, concerts, plays, competitions, performances and any other similar events that have spectators. This guidance is specific to the events that will take place in a school building or facility where instruction takes place and include the following parameters:

Capacity Requirements

Each team/group at an indoor event is allowed up to a total allocation of two spectators per participant. Consistent with other Stay Safe guidance, spectators must be separated by at least 6 feet between households/spectator groups and event spaces can't exceed 25% of total capacity. For indoor events where 12 feet can't be maintained between participants and spectators, participants must be included in the total capacity count. If spectators and participants can be clearly separated by at least 12 feet, then participants do not need to be included in the total capacity count. No venue may exceed a capacity of 250 spectators.

In some situations, small venues may only allow for an allocation of one spectator or less per participant, depending on the size of the venue. Spectators are only allowed at official competitions or events. If the participants are young children who may need adult support to dress, use the restroom, or otherwise participate in a practice or rehearsal, each participant may have one support person attend. If a participant has a medical need for additional adult support then that support person is allowed at practices or rehearsals.

School districts and charter schools must require advanced reservations and/or ticketing (e.g. online, app-based, email, will-call). Walk-ins, impromptu purchases or admittance will not be allowed.

o Names, phone number, and/or email must be collected as part of the reservation so that quick notification can be done if an individual develops COVID-19.

Schools must schedule arrival times for longer than their typical duration to minimize the congregation of spectators waiting. They must establish staggered admission-times, entry-times and durations to minimize overlap and congregating of spectators at choke-points (e.g. access points, security check-points, admission areas, concession areas).

Please also refer to MDH's COVID-19 Sports Guidance for Youth and Adults and guidance issued by the Minnesota State High School League if you are planning an athletic event.

District or charter school owned or leased facilities that are only used for non-instructional athletics or activities must follow the Stay Safe guidance and COVID-19 Sports Guidance for Youth and Adults.

[UPDATED 10/08/20]: Facility Access and Community Rentals

Public schools serve as a primary facility provider for youth and adult organizations and providers in Minnesota. Facility users may use indoor and outdoor facilities so long as they follow state guidance including the above guidance on spectators.

Athletic Facility Requirements

As outlined in Executive Order 20-74, gymnasiums, fitness centers, recreation centers and other athletic facilities may open if they can ensure adherence to the applicable Stay Safe MN guidance. Schools operating these facilities must create and follow a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Outdoor facilities may be used as long as they follow MDH guidance.

[UPDATED 10/08/20]: Indoor Meetings and Other Non-School Uses

Indoor meetings or events held by an outside organization in school buildings are not recommended. Outside organizations wishing to hold a meeting or event should work with the school district or charter school on a case by case basis. All meetings held must conform to all state guidance.

Access the updated Guidance for Minnesota Public Schools: 2020-2021 School Year Planning document.

This document is also available on the MSBA COVID-19 webpage and the Minnesota Department of Education COVID-19 Updates webpage.


Kirk Schneidawind

MSBA Executive Director


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