CHSAA sees ‘Light at the end of the tunnel’

Photo Credit: Joel priest | Special to the Drum

‘In-person’ conditioning moratorium ends June 1

Via an e-mail sent to Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) member schools, Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said that on Monday, June 1, the moratorium against in-person conditioning sessions between coaches and participants would be lifted. Starting that day, any decisions regarding athletics and activities through the summer months will be made at a local, school-district level. She noted that CHSAA’s administrative oversight for athletics and activities will resume when camps, clinics and fall- sport practice dates are projected to begin.

“This isn’t recreational park play or a free-for-all,” Blanford-Green later told the morning of the 22nd, with her comments detailed in a press release from Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann’s office. “Our schools will face some challenges, no different than professional and collegiate sports, to resume any level of student participation.”

“Each district’s individual date of return has been fully supported by our office,” she continued. “Our school administrators have assessed their local situations and have made the best decisions based on the safety and well-being of their students and school personnel.”

“We have started summer sessions today (football, volleyball),” Ignacio High School Athletics/Activities Director Leo Garand reported the afternoon of June 1. “Others [IHS Girls’ Basketball, Ignacio Middle School Volleyball] will follow suit later in the week, and others later this summer.”

Garand also forwarded along a list of questions (including ‘Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?’ and ‘Have you or a family member traveled to a ‘hot spot’ in or out of state?’) each student-athlete must answer prior to all training activity, as well as a longer list of protocols (e.g. checking temperatures of all participants before each session, group sizes limited to ten individuals – players and coaches combined – at any time, wearing of masks during any activity indoors or when six-foot social distancing is not possible, regular usage of hand sanitizer during activity, and cleaning of all equipment before and after usage) which will be followed.

“Participation in summer training is strictly voluntary,” Garand’s information emphasized, “and no athlete will be pressured into participating by a coach, another player or staff member.”

“We want to give our students/athletes every advantage as we proceed … but their safety is our primary concern.”

“BHS school administration has met with the fall coaching staff to discuss Stage 1 of the reintegration of activities and athletics,” added Bayfield A.D. Derrick Martin. “At this point, the focus is on conditioning and training only; we will continue to monitor the situation and make changes as appropriate.”

In the aforementioned CHSAA e-mail, the commissioner had provided schools with suggested recommendations, referencing national, state and health guidelines to assist them with resuming activities and athletics while keeping safety standards and protocols a priority.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Blanford-Green said. “As with [the] reopening our country and our state, taking incremental steps within the mandated and suggested guidelines will be critical in ensuring the success of transitioning from virtual to in-person.”

“Our students, coaches, schools and the Association are ready to re-socialize back to participation,” she stated. “The importance of returning to education-based athletics and activities reaches beyond a contest or a perceived scholarship. It is about reconnecting our students – socially, emotionally and physically.”

The release also mentioned that the Association’s so-named Resocialization Task Force will meet after June 1 to begin discussions on athletics and activities in which high-schoolers will participate during the 2020-21 academic year.

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