LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. – When you think of the fall season in high school Friday nights come to mind. The football games, the fans, cheerleaders, and the band. But, this year that atmosphere is going to look and feel drastically different.
School districts all across northern Alabama are still trying to figure out the best way to provide a safe environment for their students and keep them safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Districts have wrestled with how to provide some type of normalcy and following all state, CDC and AHSAA guidelines.
For Limestone County Schools, they’ve come up with an alternate way for their band teams to travel with their football teams. “We’re limiting our number of students that travel with the football teams. We’re limiting it to 25 to create like a pep band,” said Rusty Bates, Limestone County Schools Director of Athletics.
Some schools can have more than 250 members in their band. With a statewide mask order and the socially distancing guidelines, having all members in Limestone County venues would be virtually impossible. They will be limiting the band to 25 participants and Bates said they’ll be asking visiting schools to do the same.
“On our home games we’re allowing bands to come, but we’re asking them to do the same thing as well and not to take up so much space. in the stands themselves and allow social distancing,” Bates said. He also added that every school has a different way they’re measuring their capacity.
He knows just home important this is to so many kids and schools are doing all they can to try and give their students a sense of normalcy and an environment where they can be safe and enjoys the events.
“Some of our schools have brought in auxiliary bleachers to hold the band, some of our schools are rotating members during certain halves, others have even decided to do the halftime show before the game even starts.”
“Band isn’t just during the 10 games of the football season,” Bates said, “It goes on well beyond the football season and these games are like live rehearsals for their upcoming band competitions.”
Limestone County Schools are proud of their bands and all students who are part of any and all extracurricular activities and he knows that the number one goal is for the students to be safe and have an enjoyable school year.