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Baylor vs McCallie Safety Precautions
Steven Yao

The Red Raiders played against their century-old rival Blue Tornadoes this Friday: a test for the football team and the school’s handling of social distancing.

Different from previous games, the competition was held at UTC this year with a bigger stadium to accommodate social distancing requirements. With four thousand tickets sold out, this much-awaited rivalry was a big test of how high school sports was going to look in the age of COVID-19.

“I loved the Baylor/McCallie game when I was a student, but is it wise to have a football season this year?” asks Rosa Dallimore  '17. “[T]his makes me a bit concerned for the safety of Baylor’s students, teachers, and staff.”

As the Friday night lights shined at Finley Stadium at UTC, buses carrying passionate Baylor students began to arrive. “The Baylor bus we took only allowed one person each row… carrying six people in total,” says sophomore Michael Xing.

To ensure the health of attendees, everyone had their temperature taken prior to the competition and was assigned seating more than six feet apart. Baylor faculty Steve Margio '91 and Garrison Conner '05 were also in charge of monitoring social distancing.

Performers in the band had special ways to ensure safety as well. “Most players had filters on their instruments to prevent the virus on the mouthpiece,” Xing says.

The game kicked off at 7:30 p.m. As the tension tightened on the field, so did the distance between the audience. With faces covered in masks, students formed a close crowd to cheer for the Red Raiders.

The competition came to an end roughly around 10:30 p.m. Baylor, as usual, has a standard and effective plan should COVID-19 cases arise after the game. According to Baylor football head coach, Phil Massey, “Participant, if tested positive, will quarantine for 10 days. Those players who are negative but came in contact with a positive person will have to quarantine for 14 days.”

Lastly, when asked about suggestions on future competitions, coach Massey advised students to “wear a mask, stay socially distant, and yell loud for the ‘Big Red.’”

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