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Idaho schools no longer have to clean gyms between same-day games

The updated guidance was released as part of the state's attendance plan for winter sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

BOISE, Idaho — Note: The video at the top of this story is from a Jan. 22, 2021 story. 

The Idaho State Board of Education announced Tuesday morning that school districts and charter schools across the state will no longer be required to clean and disinfect their gymnasiums between sports games or matches held on the same day. 

The updated guidance was released as part of the state's attendance plan for winter sports amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed almost 1,700 Idahoans.

The board says that the requirement was dropped after feedback from schools who said that it was too hard to get the space cleaned before starting the next athletic event.

"The requirement was difficult, particularly for smaller schools who often lack safe spaces for spectators to wait while cleaning occurred in gymnasium," the board of education wrote.

The updated plan also allows attendance of up to 40 percent of the school gym's capacity or four spectators per participating student - whichever number is larger - provided that those in the stands can maintain physical distance, or are wearing masks. Student-athletes in play and students participating in the school band or dance team do not count toward that capacity cap, officials decided, but non-participating athletes do.

Members of the student body will be allowed into the gyms for home games only. All non-participating athletes, essential personnel, administrators, and table help will be required to wear face-coverings.

The increase to the amount of fans allowed was announced last week following the suggestion from Idaho Gov. Brad Little.

The Idaho State Board of Education says that each school may set stricter protocols for spectators at games if they deem it necessary. To read the full updated plan, click here.

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