The Putnam City School District will not allow fans, spectators or parents to watch extracurricular activities when classes start this fall.
In an email obtained by News 9, Superintendent Dr. Fred Rhodes told a parent that the decision was made Thursday around noon. Rhodes told the parent, Mike Todd, that the action will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure sports continue to operate for the entire year.
Rhodes and other administrators, including the board of education, did not respond to News 9’s requests for comment Thursday.
There was no board of education meeting scheduled for Thursday. Todd and other parents said they did not receive any notice from the district. News of the change, instead, made rounds on social media and word-of-mouth.
“We found out like through social media, Facebook that kind of stuff,” said Donnie Edwards, a father of a rising Senior who plays football at Putnam City North High School. He said he hopes the district reverses its action to allow for parents to attend games.
“That’s all we're asking for, you know, is a chance to watch our kids play,” Edwards said.
“They made a decision without including the parents,” Todd said. “We don’t have a voice in our own district anymore.”
Ryan Laverty, the football coach at Putnam City North, sent a letter to district parents Thursday afternoon pushing back on the decision to ban spectators at all extracurricular activities.
“I want you to know I’m fighting for you and our team,” Laverty wrote. He added that he plans to meet with other football coaches on Monday to “formulate a plan so that we can all come together on this matter.”
They plan, he said, on bringing their issues to Rhodes and district administration.
“I believe we are stronger in numbers on a united fight.”
The next board of education meeting is scheduled for August 17. No agenda was posted for the meeting as of Friday.