Yellowstone County Plan for High School and Middle School Athletics and Associated Activities

The Yellowstone County school athletics plan was created with input from superintendents and activities directors for our county’s large and small schools.

The top priority in developing this plan and the associated Health Officer Order is the health and safety of our community and reducing the risks of spreading COVID-19.

The plan doesn’t eliminate risk of transmitting COVID-19, but is designed to lower the risks. It sets out restrictions that can be relaxed if COVID-19 data support doing so.

The plan:

  • Is based on directives or guidance from MHSA, OPI, CDC and the Montana governor’s office.
  • Applies to all high school and middle school athletics activities, practices and competitions in Yellowstone County.
  • Prioritizes student participation, including band and cheerleaders.
  • Prohibits spectator attendance until further notice.
  • Puts responsibility for compliance on the school and district of the home team.
  • Requires distancing players on the sidelines and space for distancing students when indoors.
  • Requires assigned seats on team buses to minimize the number of people exposed to each other on trips for away games. Sets standards for disinfecting buses.
  • Requires everyone to wear a mask when not in the game.
  • Requires screening of team personnel and athletes for COVID-19 symptoms before every practice and competition.
  • Requires isolation of any player or team staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 and requires quarantine of any who are close contacts, according to current CDC guidance.
  • Limits cheer squads to physically distanced cheers.
  • Forbids musicians from emptying “spit valves” on the floor or other hard surfaces used by multiple people.
  • Allows working members of the media to cover the athletic events while wearing masks and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others. Microphones and other audio recording devices must be sanitized after every interview.

Details for student athletics, associated activities and public health safety are spelled out in the plan and Health Officer Order that are being presented today. The Order is effective immediately and until further notice.