As you all know, CHSAA has spent the past couple of weeks deliberating on sports for the 2020-21 school year. Specifically, CHSAA engaged in conversation with the Governor as well as families from around the state around the feasibility of allowing students to play some of the traditional fall sports like football. CHSAA spent time consulting with the Colorado Department of Public Health to define what conditions and/or variances would have to be in place in order to allow student athletes to play safely. In the end, it took several conversations and votes, but they eventually landed on allowing schools and districts to choose to play this fall, or to stick with the spring modified sports schedule. In order for schools to be allowed to play, they are required to ensure that all of the required variances are met. They have provided districts a choice for playing football, girls’ field hockey, sideline cheer and dance. While as a district we are disappointed that they would only select a few of our fall sports if they were going to grant an exception, we respect the authority of CHSAA to make this decision.
Once we received the definitive word from CHSAA with all the required conditions, we began consulting with our local health authority, San Juan Basin Public Health. Their team has provided guidance for districts in their region, taking into consideration our local data and metrics. We also have met as a leadership team to consider our current conditions and what would have to be done in order to allow students to play, while ensuring student athlete safety as well as ensuring overall school safety.
In the end, given the collective decision making around our league and considering our community’s COVID numbers, we feel that it is in our high school student athletes’ best interest to provide them the opportunity to play football this fall season. If we choose to wait until the spring semester, it would likely result in playing many teams outside of our geographical area with extensive travel demands. Therefore, we will work toward a fall season for our high school students. While we recognize we will need to work through many logistics and will need cooperation and support from our student athletes, our families and our community in order to ensure our season is successful and everyone stays safe and healthy. That said, we have also reached a unanimous decision among middle schools in our area that it is best to wait until the defined spring season for middle schools to engage in football. We simply believe that the priority is returning to in-person instruction full time first.
According to CHSAA, high school student athletes will be able to begin practices September 24, with first games to be played the week of October 8-10. Student athletes will need to get their required physicals and paperwork submitted in order to be eligible to play. The guidelines for practices are very detailed and specific and we will have to work hard to ensure we meet all the guidelines to ensure the safety of our students, staff and families. But we are confident that our student athletes understand the need to follow all guidelines in order to have this opportunity.
Athletic Director, Marcie Ham will be in further contact with coaches, athletes and families to provide specifics and detailed instructions on the required conditions and variances. It will include direction on practice behaviors and timeframes as well as specifics around games and conditions for spectators etc. We appreciate all the cooperation and patience we have received from our students, our staff, our families and our communities as we work to navigate keeping everyone safe. We look forward to providing our students, coaches and families the opportunity to participate these CHSAA approved fall sports.
Thank you for your support.
Dr. Kym LeBlanc-Esparza