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Parents disappointed after learning OIA football will kick off with no fans in the stands

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 11:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a delayed start, the first kick-offs for OIA football will have empty stands.

OIA Football coordinator Harold Tanaka is hopeful that they can re-open the stands for spectators within the next two to three weeks.

“We have to make sure we follow our protocols, and we can’t just do things without getting permission.”

The state Department of Education, meanwhile, released the following statement:

“Guidance is in development now to update specific requirements for mask-wearing, group sizes and social distancing at athletics events based on county orders, but specifics won’t be released until they are finalized.”

Kiley Bagio’s son is a senior player for Kapolei High School’s football team and is disappointed at the news.

“This should have been finalized during the break that we took, you know we stopped in the beginning of August, we’re [now] in October,” said Bagio. “They had a month to decide or have a plan, and there’s no plan and so I think it’s just, you know, there’s no excuses.”

Bagio put together a video of parents and students pleading for spectators to be allowed in the stadium.

“We’re blessed that we have a season, but we’re ready for the next steps,” said Bagio. “We’re ready to move forward and move on.”

Meanwhile, ILH schools have been playing since August.

Maryknoll Associate Director of Athletics Blaine Gier said volleyball players can invite two fans each, regardless of their COVID vaccination status.

Iolani Athletic Director Wendell Look said at their last home football game of the season, home and visiting players invited two people each — but they had to be vaccinated.

“I think that he should open up to everyone, and have those that are not vaccinated take protocol,” said Bagio, in response to UH only allowing vaccinated fans the next home game.

Tanaka said they’re closely watching UH’s first attended game.

“We want to do it responsibly, and not get careless as we reopen,” said Tanaka.

Even though results from that game could take weeks, the city is optimistic that spread will be minimal, and the last two games will have more fans.

“We are going to actually ask them to sell tickets for the entire capacity and then we’ll conclude with the last home game against Colorado State,” said Blangiardi. “So, that the last two games of the season here to allow for maximum attendance.”

Tanaka said the athletic directors will have a meeting on Tuesday to discuss guidelines for fans to return to the stands.

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