Idaho High School Activities Association releases fall sports guidance
Sami Edge, IdahoEdNews.org
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The Idaho High School Athletic Association recommends that athletes wear face-masks when possible this fall, but says plastic-face shields shouldn’t be allowed in competition.
Students should avoid fist-bumps and high-fives after competition.
And masked coaches should hold practice outside as often as possible.
These suggestions are among the guidance released by the IHSAA on Thursday, in a 52-page document that enables Idaho schools to resume activities this fall, but says that the “near certainty of recurrent outbreaks” means that some athletes might have to quarantine during their sports-seasons,” possibly multiple times.”
“It is not likely that ALL students will be able to return to and sustain athletic activity at the same time in all high schools and regions in Idaho,” the IHSAA wrote in its guidance. If a school district closes because of COVID-19, it says, “there should be no practice, training or competition among athletes in that school or district.”
Idaho health officials have said that allowing students to return to sports this fall significantly complicates school reopening plans.
Gina Pannell, program manager for Central District Health said in a State Board of Education meeting that student travel from district-to-district — and even within large districts — exacerbates student exposure risk.
“I don’t know how we’re going to keep schools in person if we intermingle school districts with sports,” she said. “We don’t want people shouting, let alone playing sports next to each other because of the risk of exposure.”
The IHSAA guidelines mandate that schools have to get approval from their local school boards, and public health officials before sports begin. The 52-page document lists these four requirements for schools, including:
- Schools that host events are required to create a plan for fan’s and team’s attendance. These plans must follow the governor’s reopening protocols and be approved by the local health department and local school board.
- Schools must develop a plan for transportation.
- Schools must have a plan for what to do if a coach or athlete tests positive, approved by the health department and school board.
- They must also have a “return-to-participation” plan worked out with the school board and health department.
All other guidance in the document should be considered “a suggestion,” IHSAA wrote.