Winter sports’ start date now January 18

Ignacio Athletics/Activities Director Leo Garand gazes hopefully at gridiron action in La Jara, where IHS challenged the powerhouse Falcons. CHSAA recently said that long-delayed winter sports should get underway with first practices on Jan. 18, 2021 – good news indeed, should it hold true, for Garand, who is in charge of making (and revising) the Bobcats’ already-reduced schedules.
Joel Priest | Special to the Drum

CDPHE variance approvals bump ‘Season B’ up

’Twas the week before Christmas, and not a moment too late:

Winter sports might begin at an earlier date …

… or so hopes the Colorado High School Activities Association, in the wake of securing variances from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment and other state officials which would allow all ‘Season B’ athletes – in boys’ and girls’ basketball, boys’/girls’ wrestling, ice hockey, girls’ swimming/diving, spirit, boys’/girls’ skiing – to begin official practices on January 18.

The target had just recently been set for Jan. 25, with competition to commence Feb. 1 (Jan. 25 is now the proposed date on which competition may begin), but the 18th aligns with Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement to prioritize in-person or hybrid learning models, according to a press release sent Dec. 21 from CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann’s office.

“The conversations with CDPHE and the Governor’s COVID Response Team to resume Season B sports have been intentional and assertive,” Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green stated in the release. “Though it has taken many late nights and weekends, we are thrilled that our student-athletes, member schools and local school communities have a resolution. Educationally-based athletics are a vital extension of the classroom.”

According to the release, CHSAA’s administrative staff has planned a series of virtual meetings for athletic directors and coaches to provide details on each sport’s implementation, and said meetings will begin on Jan. 4 – which had, ironically, been the date originally eyed to begin winter-sport practices, following the completion of Season A play.

Under the current dial levels, Association-sponsored events could not be conducted due to public health restrictions at the state level that limited the number of athletes practicing or competing in any given facility. (For example, current guidelines only allow basketball to have ten total – including coaches, athletes, trainers, etc. – individuals in a gym; the new basketball variance will permit teams to have 24 players total, as well as coaches and trainers.)

Approval of these variances allows for statewide consistency and sustainability of competition when diverse local health interpretations could restrict member participation regionally, the release claimed.

“We’re all in this together,” said Blanford-Green. “Our state officials, especially CDPHE, have a responsibility to prioritize student safety. We appreciate their support and advocacy for resuming athletics and activities for the state of Colorado in 2021.”

Updated Ignacio High School sports schedules will be published in the Drum as they are made available to the media.

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