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Barton ‘Bleacher Buddies’ filling seats with cardboard fans
BCC trustees look at COVID-19 sports protocols
Barton Community College Head Tennis Coach Lyle Stickney appears in a video promoting “Bleacher Buddies,” a fundraiser in which cardboard cutouts will be created to fill the seats in the gym at home basketball games.

Fans won’t be able to attend sporting events at Barton Community College until Feb. 6 or later, Athletic Director Trevor Rolfs told college trustees Tuesday as he reported on Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference COVID-19 protocols. The protocols were updated on Jan. 5.

There will be a KJCCC meeting on Feb. 1 to determine when fans can return, Rolfs said. The conference voted to allow seating at 25% capacity.

Meanwhile, head tennis coach Lyle Stickney has created a fundraiser called “Barton Bleacher Buddies” that allows fans to appear at home basketball games in the form of cardboard cutouts. He explains the program on a YouTube video. People can submit photos of themselves – or another family member or even a pet. For a $25 donation, the college will make an 18-by-30-inch cutout that will fill a seat in the BCC gym bleachers.

“A bonus, at the end of the season you’ll be able to collect the image,” Stickney said. “If you can’t be here in person, be here on cardboard.”

The deadline for orders is Jan. 15. Call 620-786-0099 with questions.

COVID protocols

Rolfs said the college has been testing athletes for COVID-19 as they arrive for the spring semester. “So far, we have tested roughly 130 student athletes, trainers, and team managers since we started the testing on Jan. 5th. Of those tested, only two have tested positive for COVID-19,” Rolfs told the Great Bend Tribune on Thursday. The last test date for student athletes returning is Friday, Jan. 15.

Rolfs credits the teams for the low positivity rate but he knows it will be impossible for young men and women in student housing to maintain social distancing at all times.

“Once they get here, they want to socialize,” he said. “But if we can isolate the positives right away, that’s going to help.” The college has an area in student housing where it can quarantine a few students and it has room at the Camp Aldrich Conference Center to provide even more housing if quarantine or isolation orders become an issue. That’s something other colleges don’t have, he said.

Safety protocols will create some logistical challenges and could even affect transportation, Rolfs said.

Among the changes prompted by COVID-19, Barton athletes headed to an outdoor winter track meet on Thursday at Coffeyville. Winter is typically the time for indoor meets.

Study session topics

The KJCCC COVID-19 protocols were one of four topics discussed Tuesday at the BCC Board of Trustees study session. In other business:

• The December financial statement was presented by Vice President of Administration Mark Dean.

• VP Dean also explained why the college should allow the president and vice president to opt out of K.S.A. 71-201c, which requires that form DA-146a, “Contractual Provisions Attachment,” be attached to or included in all contracts signed by college officials. This creates multiple issues as many national vendors will not accept the terms of DA-146a and there are no other choices as these are single-source providers such as software companies, he said.

• A Child Development Center report was presented by Vice President of Student Services Angie Maddy and the center’s director, Larissa Graham.