BRISTOL, Va. — The Bristol Virginia School Board considered going to court to challenge a gubernatorial edict regarding crowd size at outdoor sporting events, but the board has tabled litigation for now.
The board had a special called meeting March 2 to consult with its attorney in closed session. The announcement of the meeting on the board’s website included a copy of Gov. Ralph Northam’s Executive Order 72, which limits spectator attendance at outdoor school sporting events to “250 spectators.”
At the meeting, the board voted unanimously not to bring the issue to court, since the system is able to play football games in neighboring Tennessee without being restricted by the Virginia crowd limits.
“I think we’re doing what’s best for the children. It’s costing us a little bit more money, but the structure that’s being handed down from Richmond is unacceptable for the families and the students,” board member Frank Goodpasture III said in seconding the Alvis motion.
Superintendent Perrigan called playing in Tennessee an “acceptable option for the time being.”
“It’s a shame our band and our cheerleaders have to cross the state line to be recognized as the participants we all value them to be,” Perrigan said. “Hopefully, we’ll see changes in Virginia that recognize the amazing contributions our band and cheerleaders make to our overall program.”
Last week, the division sent a letter to Gov. Northam and state health officials asking that band members and cheerleaders be considered participants, to allow more parents and family members to watch their children participate.
Gov. Northam announced last Wednesday that outdoor amusement events — not high school sports — could expand from 250 to 1,000 effective March 1.