New Attendance Rules Extend Student Capacity During Basketball Games


Audrey Persadu

Red Shield leaders Maddy Diprima and Jack Moseman cheer on the Westside football team

As the Westside district transferred back into 100% attendance in COVID-19 green mode, it was decided that there would be new attendance rules for sporting events, including basketball. Athletic Director Thomas Kerkman said it has been a group effort in deciding what is best for Westside regarding attendance at games.

“A lot of the attendance decisions we make, we try to follow the guidance of the NSAA (Nebraska School Activities Association),” Kerkman said. “Also, we work with Dr. Lucas and our administrative building at ABC.”

The new rules allow for 50 Westside High School students to attend games, Red Shield to lead the student section and for cheer and dance to perform. Kerkman said the goal is to keep the students’ best interests in mind.

“We are reaching our main goal of getting students back involved in the game,” Kerkman said. “That’s what high school is all about, the students.”

Kerkman said the Westside community has been helpful in allowing these new guidelines to be added by cooperating with mask regulations.

“The students and parents here at Westside have been really supportive with masks,” Kerkman said. “We want to give these kids an opportunity to finish out the season and wearing a mask has been beneficial for that to happen.”

Kerkman said he believes that having more spectators at the game creates a positive environment for the players. 

“The players like it. They want to play in front of their friends and family,” Kerkman said. “The environment alone is what they want to play sports for. It makes a difference when kids play and hear a crowd cheering instead of only hearing their parents and coaches.” 

Red Shield leader Maddy DiPrima said Red Shield helps to achieve this goal of lifting the environment at sporting events. 

“We try to make the game feel as close to normal as possible by getting the crowd and parents involved,” DiPrima said. “Without Red Shield, parents are usually pretty quiet, so we do our best to get everyone loud.”

Due to COVID-19, DiPrima said leading the student section has been different than in the past. 

“The nice thing is we don’t have to social distance six feet apart, but we have to stand on every other row,” DiPrima said. “Every game is different, though, depending on who is hosting.” 

DiPrima said she hopes the attendance allowance will increase for the upcoming games. 

“Even though we still had 50 students at this past game Tuesday night, it didn’t feel like an actual game,” DiPrima said. “The Prep game this Friday is usually packed and only having 50 students is going to feel weird.”