Gov. Wolf: Schools will receive updated guidance on sports spectators this week

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | 4:12 PM

The state Department of Education will release updated guidance this week regarding spectators at interscholastic sporting events, Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday.

The new guidelines come in response to Monday’s federal court ruling that declared Wolf’s gathering limits unconstitutional. Wolf had imposed a 250-person restriction on outdoor gatherings and a 25-person indoor limit, intended to slow the spread of coronavirus. Wolf said his administration was requesting a stay of that decision and would appeal the ruling.

“In the meantime, I’m working with the Department of Education to make sure we’re taking into account what the judge ruled while we’re appealing this,” Wolf said.

Countless parents and school administrators have asked the governor to increase the number of individuals allowed. The gathering limits count athletes, coaches, trainers, officials and other game-day workers, leaving little room for spectators at football games. The indoor limit of 25 makes it difficult to organize a volleyball game, forcing some schools to sit extra players outside the gym.

Wolf gave no indication what the updated guidelines would allow.

“We want to get this out in the next day or two — either Thursday or Friday — so that school districts have this,” Wolf said, while answering questions at an unrelated news conference.

“Again, school districts are making up their minds about all of these things,” he added. “What they have to live in are these broad restrictions.”

Wolf’s comments came on the same day state lawmakers urged him to sign House Bill 2787, legislation that lets individual schools set spectator limits for sports.

The governor has indicated he’ll veto the bill.

Chris Harlan is a TribLive reporter covering sports. He joined the Trib in 2009 after seven years as a reporter at the Beaver County Times. He can be reached at

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