Fans across North Alabama are gearing up for the start of high school football this Friday.
But with the new season comes new COVID-19 guidelines as well. According to the Huntsville City Schools athletics coordinator, masks will be optional and social distancing only encouraged.
"We start fall sports up this week and we're excited about it and want to just make sure we've done a good job planning for it," says Scott Stapler, HCS athletics coordinator.
Tuesday night, Stapler told the Board of Education what to expect of the upcoming football season.
"We're not going to have any masks in the stands. Masking will certainly be optional but not required," explains Stapler.
There will be no capacity limit either.
"We're not limiting capacity. It's something just like everybody in the country is right now. Things don't change every day they change every hour. So we're going to continue to monitor that," says Stapler.
He adds that it's still up to the fans to try and social distance.
"As a fan, they're playing a roll just like the kids on the field are, on the court are. Their job is to do their job in the stands, stay spread out as best they can, and support their team like crazy," says Stapler.
Stapler hopes fans will show their support so the players can get the most out of the season.
"The dedication they put, and the time the kids put in along with the coaches, we want to do everything we can as a school district, and as fans and parents we ask them to just go with these guidelines so we can have these seasons," says Stapler.
According to Stapler, the athletes can't wait for this season to start. He says, "they can't wait to get out there!"
Masks will be required for indoor fall sports like volleyball, since they're following the school system's protocol of wearing masks while inside.
Huntsville City Schools first home game is Friday at 7:00 p.m. Lee High School will be taking on Columbia.