Parents frustrated by RCSD’s spectator limits for games

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The new high school sports season in Rochester is underway, with some parents booing the Rochester City School District’s coronavirus restrictions.

As UPrep number 15 Quantel Greene showed off his moves Friday night, and the crowd cheered, his mom wishes there was more cheering.

"It’s not going to be as loud,” sighed Letitia Greene. “Especially the seniors. This is their last year. Last football season of high school."

The game between the UPrep Griffins and the Brighton Bruins brought in an enthusiastic, but sparse crowd at the vast Rochester Community Sports Complex because of limitations on the number of people allowed into Rochester City School District sporting events.

For this fall’s season, the rule is everyone must wear a mask, even outdoors, and only two fans per athlete and the guest list was checked at the gate.

"These games, prior to COVID, like two or three years ago, were packed, from end to end,” said Kayli Westervelt who came to watch her husband coach the Griffins.

"I’ve done what’s required. I know other people have also. And I think we are still being punished," said Rachel Hill of Rochester, pointing out that she and her son, TJ, are both vaccinated for coronavirus and she says at this point the restrictions are too much. They’re also jarring and surprising for the visiting team and its boosters.

"The rules in Brighton are we don’t limit the spectators right now,” said Shannon Close of Brighton, who turned out to see her son play. "We are outside. We have visitors and home field. And the players are allowed to have as many friends and family as they want."

In its online message welcoming students, the RCSD said "We know that many of our families and the community want to support our student-athletes… This policy is subject to change at any time based on current local guidance and community transmission rates."

At the game, there were some masks, substantially fewer than universal masking, but cooperation, however begrudging with the rules for numbers.

“You could get hundreds more family members here if you didn’t have restrictions,” Westervelt said.

But could that be done safely?

“No. I don’t think safely,” she admitted. “No, I don’t. Because not everybody’s honest about vaccinations and all that stuff.”

“It’s kind of frustrating, but I understand it,” Close said. “I’m not happy with it, especially in a big stadium like this.”