Limits on spectators prevent Gold Card admissions to Westerville school events

MARLA K. KUHLMAN
mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com
ThisWeek group

Superintendent Gold Cards that traditionally provide free admission to Westerville City School District events for residents ages 60 and older will not be available this year.

"New state requirements essentially prohibit the general public from attending events by restricting access to family members, household members and loved ones of the individuals involved in the event itself," said John Kellogg, superintendent. "The total number of people allowed to attend an event is also reduced significantly. With these restrictions in place, we'll likely reach venue capacity in no time."

Although the district recognizes and appreciates how important school activities are to the fabric of a community, he said, the bottom line is the experience is really for the benefit of the participants.

"Only by adhering to these state orders will we have any chance of giving our students a chance to play and perform, albeit in front of a smaller number of spectators than usual," Kellogg said.

Gov. Mike DeWine's recent order permitting fall high school athletics places significant restrictions on the number of spectators allowed to attend.

For Westerville schools, venues will be restricted to 15% of their total capacity, according to a press release from the district.

Priority will be given to family members of the students participating.

The maximum number of tickets each family can purchase will be determined by venue capacity.

In many instances, participants' family members will fill a venue to its total allowable capacity, according to the release.

The district also is restricting athletic passes to staff this fall as a result of the state orders.

Greg Viebranz, the district's executive director of communications and technology, said the Gold Card program has been around since the early 1990s.

The cards have been available to district residents over the age of 60 who also hold a Golden Buckeye Card.

Viebranz said about 1,800 are printed annually and distributed at locations around the community.

Historically, Gold Card holders received free admission to district sporting events, concerts, musicals and plays.

At the high school level, in an effort to ensure compliance with spectator restrictions, all tickets will be sold in advance through an online ordering system that can limit the number of tickets sold.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla