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Schools reopened their outside facilities for use by community groups on Thursday after Klamath County Pop Warner provided a plan to ensure compliance with state COVID-19 safety guidelines, including wearing masks and limiting the size of gatherings.

Klamath County School District, Klamath Falls City Schools and Hosanna Christian School administrators met with Klamath County Pop Warner leaders on Wednesday, four days after the districts discontinued all outside facility use by community groups.

According to the districts, game schedules and gate procedures at Pop Warner games had made it difficult to manage crowd size and enforce mask wearing.

“We asked Pop Warner to put a plan in place to ensure that safety guidelines were being followed, and they provided us with action steps to ensure that compliance,” said Glen Szymoniak, superintendent of the Klamath County School District. “With that plan and the current downward trend of county COVID-19 cases, we feel comfortable reopening our outside facilities at this time.”

All users and spectators must follow state safety guidelines including the wearing of face coverings, maintain 6 feet of distance, and limit occupancy to 250.

Szymoniak has submitted a new proposal to the state that, if approved, would allow all Klamath County students to return to in-person learning. The proposal included a letter of support from Klamath County Public Health and assurance from the district that all COVID-19 guidance was being followed.

“We’re doing everything we can to reopen schools and appreciate the efforts of the Pop Warner organization,” Szymoniak said. “Crowd size and not wearing masks contribute to us not getting more students back in school.”