HELENA -- It's a good day for parents of student-athletes in Lewis and Clark County. Earlier this week, Lewis and Clark Public Health announced that both of the plans that Helena Public Schools and East Helena School District submitted to get spectators on the sidelines this fall were sufficient.
Parents dotted the sidelines as Helena High soccer hosted Kalispell Flathead and Helena Capital soccer hosted Kalispell Glacier on Saturday. It seemed like most, if not everyone, was just happy to be on the sidelines.
"Super excited," said Janie Cannie, a mother to a Helena Capital soccer player. Initially when Janie, and her husband Lucas, heard they would be able to be on the sidelines on Sept. 5, Lucas' first thought was, "Hustle up and get the paperwork in."
"Gratitude and relief that we are going to be allowed to be spectators with some protections in place to keep the player safety in place and to keep everybody who's in attendance in a safe place," said Andy Adamek, a father to a Helena Capital soccer player. "We were happy to hear it."
"It was a really big deal for us," said Bob Gardipee, a father to a Helena High soccer player. "All three of our kids play sports. Sports has been a big deal for us ever since the kids were 4 years old, so being able to watch her games is a really big deal for our family."
"I was elated that we were actually able to be on the field. The school did a lot of work ahead of time to make sure that we were all in place with badges," said Lorie Hayes, a mother to two Helena High soccer players. "It was just a matter of the health department giving us the go-ahead. They did a lot of legwork, so I was really proud of them."
There is one key difference to note between the plans that Helena Public Schools and the East Helena School District submitted to get spectators on the sidelines this fall. Helena Public Schools will not be allowing any visiting fans on the sidelines or in the stands this fall, while the East Helena School District will be allowing two visiting fans to join them, something Hayes said she hopes changes for both Helena High and Helena Capital in the future.
"I would like to see the two spectators be able to come and see their kids as well, so they don't feel like they have to be unable to attend, not be able to see it on the streaming. We've had some glitches with some of the streaming," Hayes said regarding visiting spectators. "It'd be great to have the two spectators for the away games like we do in East Helena. I think that that's a reasonable request."
Another caveat for some parents are the tickets they received are non-transferable, which Janie Cannie said she hopes changes so she can bring one of her daughters to a game in case she or her husband cannot attend.
"I think this is a good start, but I hope that it does work to include more family members because I think it's important for her younger siblings to see her," she said. "This is her first high school experience and we were super excited to experience it. So it's sad that not everyone in our household gets to be here."