The Great Northern Conference (GNC) has announced that volleyball matches will be held without spectators to begin the 2020 season. Conference members include Escanaba, Gladstone, Kingsford, Marquette and Menominee.
The decision to hold contests without spectators in attendance is based on a concentrated and proactive effort from members to help protect the return to in-person education taking place at schools this year. Keeping the health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, staff and officials at the forefront of return to activity planning and minimizing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 were the basis of discussion among conference athletic directors and school administrators.
The no-spectator format will ensure schools that all student-athletes, coaches and essential staff in the game environment have been pre-screened for COVID-related symptoms and can best adhere to the guidelines set forth in the return to play resource published by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA). It is hoped that a revised format allowing for a limited number of spectators to attend matches could eventually be adopted as restrictions lessen and a safe return to in-person education has occurred.
In the meantime, member schools have taken measures for families, friends and fans to be able to view matches through live video streaming capabilities that will be broadcasted through the NFHS Network. A $10.99 monthly fee or $69.99 annual pass allows users to stream thousands of live and on-demand high school sporting events from across the country on any device.