Local Kansas City Area School District Sues Jackson County Health Department – for Good Reason?
Big government is once again picking winners and losers. This time it is in the form of enforcement of county-issued guidelines for outdoor sporting events.
Blue Springs School District, a school district in Jackson County, sued the Jackson County Health Department after it was issued a notice of non-compliance with capacity limitation rules for its home opening football game.
What did Blue Springs do wrong? Attendance at the game exceeded the 100-person fan limit set by the county for outdoor events. The county is adamant Blue Springs cannot do that, threatening to ban all fans for the season and force the team to quarantine for two weeks if it happens again.
Blue Springs simply wants to allow for home football players, cheerleaders, and dance team members to give four tickets to their family members and two tickets to visiting team players—totaling 550 fans and 11 percent normal capacity. Yes, this exceeds the 100-person limit, but is the 100-person rule being enforced everywhere throughout the county?
Let’s compare this to the Thursday night opener for the Kansas City Chiefs. The county allowed roughly 16,000 fans, or 22 percent of Arrowhead’s normal capacity to attend.
Double standard? Absolutely. When the order was issued, the county intentionally exempted Kansas City, the city with the highest COVID case numbers in the county. Jackson County wants Blue Springs held at less than 2 percent of its stadium’s capacity while the Chiefs can have 22 percent. Shouldn’t Blue Springs be allowed to have the same percent capacity applied to its stadium?
Due to the limit set by the health department, Blue Springs decided that no visitor fans can attend games going forward. Even worse, with roughly 100 students on the active roster, each player/cheerleader/dance team member gets one ticket to give to their parents or guardians. Imagine a senior who has to choose between their mother, father, or grandparent attending their game. If one person from a “household” can attend, why can’t one or two more?
Jackson County defended the 100 person limit (2 percent capacity) for Blue Springs and 15,895 fan limit (22 percent capacity) for the Chiefs by saying, “Just because the Chiefs have the resources to do this in a relatively safe matter doesn’t mean that a high school stadium does.” But is this true? Blue Springs and the Jackson County Health Department developed a plan that health officials deemed safe for the school district to teach thousands of students each day indoors and in-person. The health department said Blue Springs has enough resources for that.
Wouldn’t the school district have enough resources to take a fraction of the people compared to the current school day and place them in a less risky area outdoors? I think so. The Jackson County Health Department should assist Blue Springs in implementing an 11 percent capacity plan instead of threatening to quarantine the players and ban its fans.