High school fall football games begin amid pandemic, some districts not allowing fans

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KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) - High school fall football is back, and Friday marked the first day of a number of games, including one at Kenosha Bradford High School.

Kenosha Bradford High School played at home against Franklin High School with no fans in the stands. The Kenosha Unified School District will not be allowing any due to COVID-19, at least for the time being.

“We’re really excited about the season, said Bryan Mogensen, Athletic Director at Kenosha Unified School District.

For months, schools prepared for the return of fall football, and while there’s excitement, concerns surrounding the pandemic still linger.

“We’re trying to ensure the safety of everyone involved and to this point we’re here, and how long it last-- we’re hopeful for a long season this fall but you know you never know, it’s kind of one day at a time,” adds Mogensen.

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association says two-thirds of football schools are participating in this year’s shortened season, with seven regular games and two playoff games. WIAA has come out with regulations on controlling the spread of COVID-19, which include pre-screening measures, social distancing, quarantining and masking.

It’s been an individual district decision on what best fits their district and what best fits their programming,” said Wade Labecki, Deputy Director for WIAA.

WIAA says some factors that went into the decision to start fall football back up included the mental health, quality of life and physical fitness of students.

Our moderate depression and our severe depression went from maybe three percent up to 30-percent each so that was a big factor in trying to go ahead and get kids connected back to their schools,” Labecki adds.

“Our kids, you know, they’re social people, they want to be around their friends, they want to get out and have conversations and get back to what the new normal is,” said Mogensen.

For KUSD, spectators are not allowed, but every school district will differ.

“How long that plays out within our season I think depends upon the dynamic around the virus itself,” adds Mogensen.

The return of fall football will also give senior players a chance to shine for college recruiters.

“We’re ready to go and we’re excited to have those schools that chose to participate to give it a try,” says Labecki.

The WIAA says schools who do not participate in fall football will have a chance to do a spring football season.

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