Parents plead with Big Island school sports league to lift ban on spectators

The Big Island Interscholastic Federation banned fans starting Jan. 4 due to rising COVID cases.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 8:00 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 8:14 PM HST
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HAWAII ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County parents are pleading with Big Island Interscholastic Federation officials to change its ban on fans at school sports games.

The rule went into effect on Jan. 4 due to the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases.

The BIIF president said a lot of thought went into their decision.

“This is an extra-curricular activity that we wanted to be able to open as safely as possible for the students, and that’s what it’s for. It’s for the students, honestly. It’s not for the parents, it’s not for anybody else, it’s for the students to be able to play a sport that they haven’t been able to do over a year ago,” Dean Cevallos said.

Kamehameha Schools Hawaii varsity soccer girls took the field against Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Waimea on Wednesday afternoon.

Junior Sophia Wilson, 16, wishes her parents were there to watch her play.

“There were a lot of requirements that had to be done to allow the season to happen, such as getting a booster shot and stuff. So it’s sad to me that the people that want to attend the games have done everything that they can in order to do so and they still won’t allow spectators,” Wilson said.

Wilson is both vaccinated and boosted and so are her parents.

An online petition requesting BIIF to reconsider the rule has now garnered more than 1,100 signatures. It states they are willing to mask up, social distance, show proof of vaccination, negative tests, basically whatever it takes.

“Some of the parents actually got their kids to go get vaccinated and got vaccinated themselves just for the sole purpose to be able to do this, and now they’re being denied this,” said parent and coach Alika Querubin, who started the petition.

“It’s very, very frustrating. At the same time, we see cruise ships pulling up to the Hilo Port.”

Querubin said athletes, even coaches have signed his petition. He said he even got a phone call from Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth last week expressing his support.

“We are 100% in support of parents being able to watch their kids,” said Hawaii County Communications Director Cyrus Johnasen.

“We need to allow that. It’s our duty as people, as administrators of this county to make sure that the parents have the opportunity to see their kids thrive and succeed, and part of that is through sports.”

Cevallos said they will consider the petition. However, the rule stands until further notice.

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