COVID-19 guidelines for Washoe County School District sports

Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 12:02 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -High school sports are returning in Nevada after Gov. Steve Sisolak eased COVID-19 restrictions.

Winter sports are out but fall sports like football return for a shortened season from March 5 to April 10. Spring sports go from April 3 to May 22.

The Washoe County School District on Saturday released this information called Return to Athletics March 1 to March 22:

  • The health and safety of our students and staff members is the highest priority of the Washoe County School District.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, WCSD has worked tirelessly to promote healthy practices, provide equipment and tools to mitigate the spread of COVID, and monitor and support the health of our students and staff.
  • That commitment will not waver, even as we begin to hold athletic events and other activities on our campuses.
  • We continue to work within guidelines set forth by the governor and NIAA and in conjunction with the Washoe County Health District, to protect our entire school family, and we will reach out to our families with information and guidance regularly moving forward.
  • We ask for our families’ understanding and cooperation as we work through the process of beginning to hold athletic events.
  • On February 17, 2021 the Governor’s office issued a document (Nevada Guidance for Adult and Youth Sports that outlines strict capacity limits for spectators of 100 people until March 14 and 250 people thereafter for all of WCSD’s venues)

Football COVID testing:

  • Each week, all freshman, JV, and Varsity football players, staff members, and game workers will receive a BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen test via nasal swab. Players, staff, and game workers will perform their own nasal swabs on site, supervised by licensed testers. Results will be available within approximately 15 minutes.
  • Parents or guardians must give consent for these tests to take place.
  • If an athlete, staff member, or game worker does not undergo a test for any reason, they will not be allowed to participate in that week’s game.
  • If any participant tests positive for COVID-19, they will be asked discreetly to leave practice and begin their isolation period. Contact tracing will take place.
  • Participants who test positive may “appeal” the results of the weekly BinaxNOW COVID-19 Antigen test by getting a PCR or molecular test within 48 hours of the positive test. If the results of the PCR or molecular test are positive, the participant must remain in isolation for the full 10 days. If the PCR test result is negative, and there are no symptoms of illness, the participant could return to activities upon receipt of the negative test result. During the appeal period, participants must remain in isolation.


  • “Spectator” is defined as a selected guest of a student-athlete, member of support group, or coach.
  • Due to capacity limits and requirements surrounding social distancing and cleaning, only spectators from the HOME TEAM are allowed to attend each game.
  • From March 1-14, the maximum number of spectators allowed in any school’s largest gymnasium or stadium will be 100. In smaller venues, the maximum number of spectators allowed will be 50. This is in addition to players, coaches, cheer, and other event staff. As directed by the state, band participants are counted as spectators.
  • Beginning March 15, the maximum number of spectators allowed in any school’s largest gymnasium or stadium will be increased to 250.
  • School staff will conduct COVID screener or questionnaire with all spectators before they may enter the gym, field, or stadium.
  • All spectators must properly wear suitable face coverings for the entire time they are on campus and must maintain six feet or more of social distancing, which will be marked in the spectator seating areas. If a family is allotted more than one ticket, members of that family may sit together.
  • School staff will monitor spectators to ensure they are complying with the governor’s and NIAA directives.
  • Following each game, our staff will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting “high touch” areas where student-athletes, coaches, support groups, or spectators may come into contact.

Tickets and reservations:

  • Each school will set up its own process for issuing tickets or reservations to selected spectators. These processes should be consistent, equitable, and always in compliance with capacity limits as defined above.
  • Priority selections will be given to the following groups in this order:
  1. First priority: Student-Athletes (for their games)
  2. Second priority: Support Groups (cheer/dance and band students)
  3. Third priority: Other Students (possibly seniors first)
  4. Fourth priority: Coaches

Gate fees:

  • All home games will be free to all spectators. There will be no gate or entry fees collected this year.
  • Concession stands will remain closed for the duration of the school year.

Support Groups (Band, Cheer, Dance, etc.):

  • Support groups will only be allowed to participate during home games/competitions. They will not be able to travel and cheer/play at away games.
  • Social distancing will need to be enforced and cheer/dance team members must always be at least 6 feet apart per NIAA guidelines.
  • The number of cheerleaders, dance team, and/or band members allowed in an area is to be reduced when necessary to preserve the distancing requirements.
  • Members of any support group are required to wear face coverings whenever possible. If a member of the band needs to remove their face covering while playing their instrument, then they must be properly distanced of 6 feet or more away from any other member of the band.

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