Northampton students want stadium limit lifted
When the Northampton Area High School Konkrete Kids varsity football team faces the Liberty High School Hurricanes varsity football team 7 p.m. Oct. 16 in the first home game for the 2020 season, Adam Reichelderfer, NAHS Class of 2022 president, wants Al Erdosy Stadium filled - or at least as close as possible.
Northampton Area School District Superintendent Joseph S. Kovalchik noted he is sympathetic to Reichelderfer, his fellow students and the Konkrete Kids fans but reported the district will adhere to its 700-person attendance limit for the 3,000-seat stadium.
“I spoke with a lot of athletes. They want the energy,” Reichelderfer said at the NASD Board of Education meeting Sept. 28.
Reichelderfer, of Moore Township, distributed a handout sheet with his prepared remarks and statistics about the coronavirus.
He said he launched an online petition to allow more people to attend games following Kovalchik’s Sept. 25 video detailing the restrictions. The petition garnered 800 backers in three days.
“The students want to see it. This (coronavirus pandemic restriction) is stripping away a lot of things,” said Reichelderfer, an NAHS junior who is also the alto saxophone section leader in the Big “N” Band, NAHS’ marching band.
“These are the four years that kids never got. This right now is shaping our generation,” he said.
“I agree,” Kovalchik said. “How about all the spring athletes that didn’t get to finish their season? At least, the fall athletes get to have something.”
Varsity football players, cheerleaders and Big “N” Band members will each be given vouchers for three tickets for family or friends to attend the game. Face masks must be worn by spectators and participants, and social distancing of 6 feet will be maintained. Vouchers for two tickets will be given to each Liberty athlete, cheerleader and band member.
The three-voucher system is an increase from the two vouchers mentioned in Kovalchik’s Sept. 25 video.
“I understand the importance of athletics more than anyone can imagine,” said Kovalchik, noting his background as a physical education teacher and 20 years as a coach.
Kovalchik reported he and the board members are responsible for maintaining the safety of 5,500 students and 600 employees in NASD.
“The ultimate goal is to mitigate the spread of the virus,” said Kovalchik, adding hand washing, use of hand sanitizer, wearing of face masks and social distancing help to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“I spoke with my superintendent colleagues over the weekend,” Kovalchik said. “There are school districts that are closing. I hope and pray it doesn’t happen here.”
Citing confirmed cases of COVID-19, Whitehall High School closed Sept. 25, with plans to reopen Oct. 1. Saucon Valley High School is also closed until Oct. 1.
Two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were already reported at NAHS and one confirmed case at Northampton Area Middle School.
“Having parents, students and everyone as safe as they can be takes a lot of effort,” NASD school board President David Gogel said. “We have to get together, and keep on going, to educate our children.”
Attendance, in addition to being limited for varsity football games at Al Erdosy Stadium, is restricted for other fall sports competitions, including middle school and junior varsity football; girls junior varsity and varsity soccer; boys junior varsity and varsity soccer; girls middle school and varsity cross-country; boys middle school, junior varsity and varsity cross-country; girls middle school, junior varsity and varsity volleyball; girls middle school, junior varsity and varsity field hockey; girls tennis; boys tennis; and boys varsity golf.
The NASD COVID-19 athletic spectator safety plan for the 2020 fall athletic season can be found on the athletics homepage on the school district website, nasdschools.org.
Kovalchik’s Sept. 25 district update video can be viewed at youtube.com/watch?v=L17mXkk5-yQ.
The NASD Board of Education is next scheduled to meet 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12 at NAMS, 1617 Laubach Ave. Face masks and socially distant seating is required.