Coaches, officials calling on state to allow family to attend prep sporting events

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — The ILH football season is already underway and the OIA season is set to kick off on Friday, Oct. 15. At Kaiser High School, the administration is reminding parents and athletes about gathering rules. They said if any spectators are observed, games may be canceled.

In a statement from the Hawaii Department of Education (DOE), canceled games would only happen after many steps have already been taken and reminders given that spectators are not allowed on campus for practices and games. Schools must adhere to state and county gathering restrictions.

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However, some coaches said parents should — at the very least — be allowed to attend.

“The players are living with their parents, parents drop them off to the game, pick them up after the game, so why not stay back and watch them,” said Sterling Carvalho, Kahuku High School football head coach. “These parents have waited a long time to see their players and their child play at this time. So I want them to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”

Iolani School is working with the ILH to allow parents of seniors to attend games on designated senior nights. School officials told KHON2 that safety protocols to make this possible are aligned with city and state rules. Meanwhile, Gov. David Ige told KHON2 on Wednesday, Sept. 29, that hospitalizations are just under max capacity — which is part of the reason for zero in-person fans. Others said there is little to no risk.

“I think having outdoor events where people are vaccinated is what we want because the alternative is they go indoors and watch the games,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green, Hawaii COVID-19 healthcare liaison. “I heard a story about us not allowing our fans to go to the games in pods, vaccinate, instead they went into like an auditorium and watched the games together. So that was indoors and more risky.”

On Maui, a County Council member is urging Mayor Michael Victorino to allow spectators at prep sporting events.

“I say why not; If the mayor is allowing tourists to gather for luaus, why not,” said Michael Molina, Maui County councilmember. “Why not allow them to participate with their child at various sports activities?”

Maui County’s proposed public health emergency amendments are pending action by the Governor’s office.

Fans or no fans, it is still game on for these student-athletes.

“The community is a huge part of our program. For them not to be there, it’s going to be bittersweet. At the same time, this community wants these players to be playing at this time,” Carvalho said.

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The HHSAA said if there are still no fans allowed by the time the state tournament rolls around, the games will be played at Aloha Stadium. If gathering rules change, then the games will be played at either Mililani, Farrington or at the University of Hawaii Manoa.

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