Mr. and Miss Cardinal City Pageant COVID Safety Precautions

Mr. and Miss Cardinal City Pageant to Deploy Layers of COVID Safety Precautions
Posted on 09/25/2021
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The 2021 Mr. and Miss Cardinal City combined pageant has instituted a number of COVID safety precautions, some of which took place behind the scenes even before the actual pageant on Saturday, September 25 at Sturges Center for the Fine Arts.


“Normally, we have 15 to 20 San Bernardino High School students competing in each pageant, but we limited the total number of contestants to help maintain social distancing both among the contestants and the audience,” pageant director and SBHS bilingual school outreach worker Jaime Rios said. “Despite the restrictions, we are very excited to be able to hold the pageant. It’s one of the highlights of the school year for me and for the contestants.”


Only 17 total contestants will be at the event, and they won’t all be on the stage at the same time.


Unlike past pageants, the combined pageant is not open to the public. Contestants' friends, teachers, and classmates are not allowed to attend. Other than the contestants themselves, only invited guests, limited to only 10 members of each contestant’s family, pageant judges, performers, and a small, select group of Sturges and SBHS staff and judges’ guests.


Although Sturges can hold 700 audience members, Rios said there is a firm cap of 250 for the pageant. That’s less than half of the theater’s capacity, allowing for proper social distancing. Rios added that all audience members will have assigned seating.


“This was carefully planned so that households will sit together and allow for empty seats between household groups,” Rios said.


Additionally, every person in attendance must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times. The only exceptions will be that masks can briefly be removed to sip water, and contestants may remove their masks during their on-stage performances only. Per public health guidelines, children under age 2 are not required to wear masks. And, signage will remind attendees that they must assess their health before entering the Sturges Center. 


“Our student contestants will be required to wear masks while they are backstage or in any part of the theater other than when they are alone on stage,” said Eric Vetere, the safety & emergency manager for the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD).


Additional COVID precautions include temperature checks for every person upon entering Sturges. Anyone with a temperature will be turned away, this includes judges and contestants. Hand sanitizer will be available for the judges, backstage for the contestants, and two hand sanitizer stations for the audience. An industrial-sized, HEPA-grade air filter in the auditorium will clean the air, including filtering for virus particles.


“As with all school-related events, we are taking a very close look at all of our procedures to make sure we are considering what is best for the mental and physical health of our students and staff,” Rios said. “It’s why we are trying to hold as many activities and events as we can as long as we are able to do so in a way that slows the spread of COVID.”


The Cardinal City pageant contestants take the stage at 6 p.m. on September 25 at Sturges Center for the Fine Arts. This event is not open to the general public.

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