Scripps Ranch parents fight to sit in stands during football games

Some parents say they expected to be able to watch their kids play in person based on guidelines put out by the California Department of Public Health.

SAN DIEGO — As local football teams gear up to play their first games in over a year, parents at Scripps Ranch High School are fighting for a chance to be able to watch those games in person. At this point, San Diego Unified isn’t allowing fans.

“It’s fantastic they’re finally getting an opportunity to play,” said parent Brian Stoney. 
Stoney added that his son, a varsity linebacker for Scripps Ranch, is excited for that opportunity. Stoney is as well, yet disappointed after learning about the rules in place.
“I don’t know what it is they’re afraid of. Why don’t they let us do this? It’s just like everything else with the San Diego Unified School District,” continued Stoney. “They keep pushing it further down the road and not making decisions for what’s in the best interest of the students and the families.”
Diane Merrigan feels the same way. Her son is also a linebacker on the team.
“We walk through the grocery store. We go through retail outlets,” said Merrigan. “We sit outside restaurants amongst strangers, so why wouldn’t the district allow parents of kids who are on the field to sit six feet apart from each other?”

Both Stoney and Merrigan say they expected to be able to watch their kids play in person based on guidelines put out by the California Department of Public Health.

In part, the guidelines read:
Limited observation of youth sports is allowed “to immediate household members, and for the strict purpose of age appropriate supervision. This includes observation of practice and competition.”

During this week’s San Diego Unified Board meeting, Superintendent Cindy Marten suggested the board review those guidelines and work to update its own by next week.

“So that parents can take part in this important part of high school life,” said Marten.

Stoney and Merrigan aren’t holding their breath, saying at that same meeting, parents hardly got a chance to speak on the matter.

“We sat for over five hours on a Zoom call on Tuesday night at a board meeting waiting for our chance to speak during public comments. They told us they would give us each three minutes to speak,” said Stoney. “When the time finally came after five hours, they gave us each one minute to speak.”
According to Merrigan: “It was just thank you very much….next.”

In the meantime, Stoney and Merrigan will continue to advocate for themselves and other families.

Another parent submitted a blueprint showing how they could attend games by sitting in pods, all while staying six feet apart.
“We figured out how to sit on a picnic table under a tent in a parking lot and eat at a restaurant, so I think we can sit on a bench in an open air football stadium and be safe,” said Stoney.
“I wanna see my child play and I will keep pushing and do whatever it takes,” continued Merrigan.
There will be a live feed to watch the games. Rules regarding fans are up to each district. For example, while Sweetwater isn’t allowing fans, Poway Unified is allowing fans.
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