Iowa City Community School District prohibiting sports spectators effective immediately

The move was made in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in Johnson county.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Joseph Cress

An official watches play during a 4A varsity high school football game between Iowa City High and West High at Bates Field in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. (Joseph Cress/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

The Iowa City Community School District announced Thursday that it is prohibiting all spectators at district-sponsored activities and athletic events held on district campuses until further notice, effective immediately, in response to rising coronavirus cases in Johnson county

The district cited Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ announcement Thursday restricting social gatherings in Johnson county, saying it felt compelled to further limit mass gatherings and that this decision “helps ensure the continued health and safety of our student-athletes, student performers, staff, and coaches.”

“Our priority is to provide the opportunity for our student-athletes and performers to participate to the fullest extent that is safely possible,” the district said in a release.

Any events that were previously scheduled for Friday through Saturday will continue as planned, however, spectators will not be allowed. Any previously distributed wristbands for entry to events are no longer valid, the district said. All regularly scheduled practices through Saturday will proceed as planned.

This restriction will affect Iowa City High’s Thursday volleyball games against Johnston and Marion, and two football games on Friday night. City High football is set to host Davenport Central on Friday, and Iowa City Liberty will host Iowa City West.

“We recognize that this is disappointing information,” the district said in a release. “Athletic competitions and student performances serve as a way to bring our communities together. We celebrate our students, and more importantly, it allows our students to represent their schools with pride. We feel for our students that are missing the traditional experience, but we must continue to prioritize health and safety.”

Prior to this announcement, the district had capacity limits for athletic events. According to the district website, those included:

  • Outdoor Activities (i.e. football games): Each participating student and coach will be provided three tickets.
  • Indoor Activities (i.e. volleyball games): Capacity will be limited to the lesser of 50 percent of the venue’s capacity or each participating student and coach being provided two tickets.
  • Individuals without a ticket, including students and staff, will not be permitted into the performance/competition.
  • Spectators will be required to wear a face covering while attending District-sponsored performances and competitions. Individuals who don’t comply will be asked to leave.
  • The same guidelines will apply for non-District schools that are participating in the competition.

Iowa City Regina, a private school, is having an administrative meeting to decide if it will allow fans to attend its home varsity football game Friday night against Pleasant Valley, according to Jeff Johnson of the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

On Thursday, the ICCSD was granted permission from the state to begin the year 100 percent online as COVID-19 cases surge in the county. Johnson County added 338 positive COVID-19 tests Thursday, the most the county has ever seen in a 24-hour period. The county’s 14-day rolling positivity rate reached above 15 percent, a threshold the Iowa Department of Education set for school districts that wanted to go all-online.

The Iowa City school board will meet Saturday to determine if schools will move completely online or move forward with a hybrid learning model. The Iowa Department of Education previously denied a request from the school district on Aug. 6 to move to remote learning.

The ICCSD is currently scheduled to begin classes on Sept. 8. At this time, the school isn’t considering a change in start date.