Schools will reopen their outside facilities for use by community groups today (Oct. 22) after Klamath County Pop Warner provided a plan ensuring compliance with state COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

Klamath County School District, Klamath Falls City Schools, and Hosanna Christian School administrators met with Klamath County Pop Warner leaders on Wednesday. Due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and concerns about safety, the districts and Hosanna on Sunday temporarily discontinued all outside facility use by non-district groups.

The Pop Warner organization has done an excellent job of communicating safety guidelines and expectations, however, game schedules and gate procedures made it difficult to manage crowd size and enforce mask wearing, the school officials said.

“We asked Pop Warner to put a plan in place to ensure that safety guidelines were being followed, and they provided us with action steps to ensure that compliance,” said Glen Szymoniak, superintendent of the Klamath County School District. “With that plan and the current downward trend of county COVID-19 cases, we feel comfortable reopening our outside facilities at this time.”

Klamath County Pop Warner is among several community groups and clubs that signed outside facility-use agreements with the districts this fall for youth activities and games. All users and spectators must follow state safety guidelines including the wearing of face coverings, maintaining 6 feet of distance, and limiting occupancy to 250.

Szymoniak has submitted a new metrics proposal to the state that, if approved, would allow all Klamath County students to return to in-person learning. The proposal included a letter of support from Klamath County Public Health and assurance from the district that all COVID-19 guidance was being followed.

“We’re doing everything we can to reopen schools and appreciate the efforts of the Pop Warner organization,” Szymoniak said. “Crowd size and not wearing masks contribute to us not getting more students back in school.”