Billings Public Schools will admit two fans per student for visiting teams at athletic events after originally barring spectators.
The policy change is another expansion of how many people will be allowed to attend school-sponsored events. After Yellowstone County health officials originally released a plan that barred spectators, county health officials reversed course amid criticism and allowed schools to create their own plans for spectator attendance.
School District 2 originally announced it would allow only two fans per athlete for home teams, and bar visiting spectators.
However, the district reserved course and decided to allow two fans per visiting athlete, SD2 activities director Mark Wahl said Thursday.
"We were really worried about how many fans were going to gather outside the fences," Wahl said.
Billings Senior High played Bozeman at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium on Thursday at 7 p.m. Skyview and West will meet Friday at 7 p.m. at Daylis.
The initial order that kept spectators from attending high school athletic events was issued Aug. 18 with the support of local athletic directors and school superintendents, John Felton, Yellowstone County's public health officer has said.
After continuing discussions with school leaders, Felton said the decision was made to let schools form individual plans for spectators at athletic events, and he announced that he was rescinding the original health officer order.
The order barring spectators from SD2 events prompted a protest that drew more than 100 people, including Montana's Office of Public Instruction head Elsie Arntzen who spoke against the policy.
Many in the crowd gathered in a park in downtown Billings carried signs and wore T-shirts that said, "Let us watch."