PROVO — After Gov. Gary Herbert announced that Provo and Orem would be returning to orange or moderate COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, Provo High School made a quick pivot.
In order to allow fans to attend its homecoming football game against Wasatch High Friday, the school announced it would play at Spanish Fork High School instead of in Provo. Under the state’s orange restrictions, sports are permitted but without spectators.
“We all recognize that hosting a Homecoming Game at another venue is a bit unorthodox, but it is the best option to allow spectators at the game,” wrote Provo High School Principal Boyd McAffee in an email to parents.
In the same message, he asked people to wear masks to the game and said, “We all need to do our part to keep our community healthy, to keep our school open, and to give our students a chance to finish their seasons.”
However, just hours after the message was sent, Nebo School District asked Wednesday evening that Provo High find a different venue for the game.
“After discussing this matter together, the Nebo District Administration has asked the Provo District Administration and Provo High School to find a different venue for the Provo High vs. Wasatch High football game this coming Friday,” Nebo spokeswoman Lana Hiskey said in a statement. “We appreciate the cooperative relationship we have in working together to support students, their families, and the communities in which we live.”
Currently, the status of the game is unclear.
Both Provo and Orem were moved from yellow, or low levels of restriction, to orange, moderate levels, in Utah’s phased COVID-19 plan after cases in the area spiked, particularly among students at BYU and Utah Valley University. Utah County also issued a public mask mandate Tuesday evening, which will last until Oct. 20.
For the fall semester, BYU has reported 1,104 cases as of Tuesday, and UVU has reported 198 positive cases since Aug. 24.
“We are greatly concerned about the dramatic rise in positive cases of COVID-19 in Utah County, particularly among college students. This is both alarming and unacceptable,” said BYU President Kevin J Worthen and UVU President Astrid S. Tuminez in a joint statement Tuesday. “If circumstances do not improve within the next two weeks, more dramatic action will be necessary. This may include a two-week quarantine, closing campuses to the public or a complete retreat to all-remote instruction for the rest of the semester.”
Keeping with the heightened guidelines, BYU will hold its next two home football games without fans.