On the Sidelines: Should Spectators Be Allowed?

At tennis’ first League match of the season, the fence that was once engulfed by families and fans was replaced by a handful of supportive parents and teammates in response to the recent TUSD spectator guidelines.

Art/Photo by Alexssa Takeda

At tennis’ first League match of the season, the fence that was once engulfed by families and fans was replaced by a handful of supportive parents and teammates in response to the recent TUSD spectator guidelines.

Alexssa Takeda, Staff Writer

   With the recent launch of certain West High sports competitions, it may seem not-so-surprising that it comes with limitations: no spectators allowed. 

   As of May 14th, West High’s principal Mrs. Murata sent out an email to West High families stating that they do not allow spectators at sporting events. But they are offering up to four members per athlete’s immediate household to attend and observe while still abiding by L.A. County Department of Public Health Guidelines. She also stated they are working on alternative live-streaming options.

    West High’s tennis coach, Mr. Jin was very excited upon reading the announcement. He pointed out that this might be especially important for seniors since this will be their last year to be part of West High Athletics. “It is really exciting for parents to see their children one last time and enjoy some sort of sports event together as a family,” Mr. Jin said. The update will require these families to complete the TUSD Daily Health Screener prior to entering the campus for the event. Some teams have distributed West High Observer cards that families must present to enter the campus. Just like always, mask-wearing and social distancing are protocols everyone must follow. As long as everyone stays safe, Mr. Jin believes they should allow spectators on campus.    

   Many students also found this to be outstanding news. Dylan Newmeyer (11), a Varsity Baseball player and former Cross Country runner, expressed that, “Spectators make the games a whole different environment when you’re playing… [It] makes me feel like I’m playing for something bigger than just my team and my teammates.” With his first match of the year coming up on Friday, March 19th, Newmeyer looks forward to seeing his parents cheer him on from the stands. 

   While many support this update, it raises alarm in others. Junior Varsity Swim member Emilio Torres (10) feels that this decision is dangerous. While he agrees it is important for families to watch their kids play, he shared his concerns, saying that, “During these times, COVID has been affecting us a bit too much… I believe we should not risk exposing ourselves to other people, friends, [and] families.” Torres believes it is still too early to allow spectators to attend games, and that COVID-19 vaccination should be required to maintain the safety of not only the parents but also the student-athletes.  

   Like many events and rules this year, guidelines about spectators may change in the future. West High says they “HOPE to get students & other fans back as spectators soon.” But as of now, West families will have to wait and see.