BILLINGS — Winter sports are poised to begin across the state on Saturday, and high schools in Billings will continue to implement safety protocols in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Billings Public Schools — in part made up of Senior, Skyview and West high schools — will maintain the same policy it used during the fall sports season, activities director Mark Wahl said Wednesday. That protocol calls for a limit of two fans per athlete for both the home and visiting teams.

Face coverings are also required for spectators, and all in attendance are asked to follow social distancing guidelines.

Earlier in December, Class AA superintendents petitioned the Montana High School Association to delay the start of winter sports until Jan. 18, but games are still scheduled to begin as planned. The first home contests in Billings are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 7, when Senior hosts Great Falls CMR in boys basketball, and the following day, when Skyview and West host both boys basketball and wrestling events against Bozeman High and Bozeman Gallatin.

Billings Central’s policy for its home events is not unlike that of Billings Public Schools. According to a document provided by principal Shel Hanser, Central will limit spectators to two per player and coach. Vouchers will be distributed to players and coaches prior to each event, which can then be used to purchase a ticket.

Concessions will not be available at Central events.

The Rams are scheduled to host Lewistown and Glendive in wrestling on Jan. 9.

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