File, The Gazette

Denver and Adams counties will officially move to Level 3, Safer at Home on Wednesday, raising a question as to how high school sporting events will be affected by the stricter virus guidelines, which limit outdoor gatherings of no more than 75, and sports to groups of 10 or less in Denver.

Colorado Springs teams won’t be directly affected by the new order as no teams have stepped forward to announce season cancellations in the wake of the new restrictions.

Teams playing in Adams County, however, will do so without spectators.

Gov. Jared Polis and his COVID-19 response team approved Colorado High School Activities Association variances in September for schools to have the option to play football. When the announcement was made, every county in Colorado was in Level 1 or 2, but the governor's guidelines stated approval is subject to a "re-evaluation" for counties that advance to Level 3 or 4.

CHSAA assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann said local health departments will have final say on local variances for schools affected by the safer at home order.

Last week Adams County tightened its restrictions, which included a ban on spectators at CHSAA-sanctioned events. Previously, it was up to each district to limit the number of spectators based on local health orders.

Denver Public Schools announced in September the district will not participate in fall football and has opted to compete in the spring Season C, leaving the city mostly void of high school athletics until winter sports begin practice in late December.

Denver Christian, Mullen and Holy Family are the only Denver-area schools playing this fall, although Denver Christian and Holy Family technically do not compete within city limits.

Bennett, Brighton, Horizon, Prairie View, Riverdale Ridge, Strasburg, The Pinnacle and Thornton will continue to compete in Adams County without spectators.

Mitchell is scheduled to travel to Holy Family in Week 4, and host Riverdale Ridge on Nov. 6. Last week Mitchell was forced to cancel its contest "due to COVID-related issues," but athletic director Al Everett said via Twitter that the decision was only for Week 3, and will assess the situation for Week 4 against Holy Family sometime this week.

Thornton, which competes in the Class 4A I-25 league with mostly Colorado Springs-area teams, will travel to Liberty, before hosting Palmer and Cheyenne Mountain through the remainder of the season. Riverdale Ridge, which played its first home game of the season at an empty stadium Friday due to the stricter spectator guidelines in Adams County, will host Discovery Canyon on Friday before traveling to Colorado Springs to face Mitchell.

Contact the writer: lindsey.smith@gazette.com

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