OIA to allow fully vaccinated fans at high school sports games — but not everyone is happy

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 4:18 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:01 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Beginning next week, fans will once again be allowed in the stands at public high school sports games.

The Oahu Interscholastic Association announced that spectators will be allowed at both indoor and outdoor games beginning on Oct. 20.

Those who would like to attend a sporting event, will have to be fully vaccinated and must wear masks. Because children under 12 years old are not yet eligible for the vaccine, they will not be allowed to attend events.

Many parents had expressed disappointment at not being allowed to attend games. But even after the announcement, parents saw it as a mixed bag.

“It’ is a blessing, and we are thankful,” said Kiley Bagio, whose husband is on the football coaching staff at Kapolei High School and who has a son on the team.

“On the other hand, people like us who have children — that’s another story.”

Bagio and Ihilani Cummings — who also has a husband on the coaching staff and a senior on the team — were excited that they could finally attend a game in person.

But with the rules calling for only vaccinated people, their younger children will have to stay home.

“My own daughters cannot even come and support dad, so now my wife probably won’t be able to come unless a babysitter would be able to watch them,” said Kahuku High School head football coach Sterling Carvalho.

“We’re advocating for families,” said Cummings. “A lot of the boys and their teammates have a lot of siblings, and the siblings are their biggest fans.”

The OIA said fans are limited to groups of 25 outdoors and 10 indoors. Everyone must buy a ticket online, but there’s no rule about how many can attend. There will also be a purchase limit of up to five tickets.

“What rule applies? Which games shall we go to? We don’t know. It’s just very confusing,” said Bagio.

In following state guidelines, OIA said food and drinks will not be served at games, and only water will be available.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said restrictions continue to lift on large events, but everything still hinges on the vaccination rate.

“If you believe in the efficacy of why we’ve worked so hard all these many months, and challenged, asked, begged, pleaded with people to get vaccinated, we’re in a place right now where we need to make that move,” said Blangiardi.

Even though not everyone in the family can attend, coaches and players are at least ready to hit the playing field after a long pandemic break.

“So regardless of fans being there this week or starting next week is irrelevant at this point,” said Carvalho, whose Red Raiders travel to Kapolei for their season-opening game.

“It’s just taking advantage of the opportunity that we have a chance to be playing this Friday.”

For more information on rules or to purchase a ticket, click here.

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