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The Amended Target Mitigation Order: What Do Schools Need to Know for Spectators and Beyond?

Yesterday, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced that they have amended the existing COVID-19 orders to allow for adjusted capacity to gathering limits. In other words, local venues, including schools, will be permitted to have more spectators at hosted events. Following suit, the “Guidance for All Sports Permitted to Operate During the COVID-19 Disaster Emergency to Ensure the Safety and Health of Employees, Athletes and the Public” (“Sports Guidance”) and the “Targeted Mitigation Order—Frequently Asked Questions” (“FAQ”) guidance documents were also updated.

The amended orders will go into effect on Friday, October 9, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. While the amended orders allow for venue occupancy limits to play more of a part in determining the number of individuals allowed at inside and outside events, existing mitigation tools (wearing masks/face coverings, maintaining social distance, etc.) put into place earlier this year will remain in effect.

The amended order does not apply to classroom settings, school buses, or school cafeterias, but does apply to school activities outside of the classroom that are not related to educational instruction. School activities and gatherings not related to educational instruction, including in-person school board meetings, must follow the limitations in the “Maximum Occupancy Calculator” listed below. School boards moving to in-person meetings with the “Maximum Occupancy Calculator,” must continue to practice social distancing and enforce masking and face covering.

The amended order also applies to school sports. School sports must also comply with the District’s Athletic Health and Safety Plan and any local health department restrictions. It is important to note that all individuals present at the venue including, but not limited to athletes, coaches, and athletic staff, spectators, media, cheerleaders, and musicians, are included in the count of individuals present at the venue and those individuals must wear face coverings, in accordance with the Secretary of Health’s Universal Face Covering Order, and are expected to still maintain social distancing when arriving, attending, and departing any facility.

The amended orders include a “Maximum Occupancy Calculator” for both indoor and outdoor events, including school sports. Here are the occupancy calculations for indoor events:

Maximum Occupancy                 Allowable Indoor Rate
0-2,000 people                                    20% of maximum occupancy
2,001-10,000 people                           15% of maximum occupancy
Over 10,000 people                             10% of maximum occupancy

Here are the occupancy calculations for outdoor events:
Maximum Occupancy                 Allowable Outdoor Rate
0-2.000 people                                    25% of maximum occupancy
2,001-10,000 people                          20% of maximum occupancy
Over 10,000 people                            15% of maximum occupancy

The “Amended Targeted Mitigation Order” along with the “Maximum Occupancy Calculator” can be found here. The amended Sports Guidance can be found here. Additionally, the FAQ can be found here. Notably, there is a great deal of information in relation to K-12 schools located near the very end of the FAQ guidance document. As always, the School Law Practice Group at Stock and Leader continues to monitor developments in relation to COVID-19. Please contact us with any questions or concerns regarding the amended order or other areas of school law.

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