CHSAA announces task force to consider sports during COVID
Last updated 5/27/2020 at 12:34pm
For high school athletes and coaches across the state, the big question right now is, “Will we get to play anytime soon?”
Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green addressed that question and others on May 14. In an email sent to all participating schools, Blanford-Green noted how COVID-19 has affected education and co-curricular activities across the board, leaving “a stable industry operating on set dates and timelines shrouded in gray.” She noted this has forced every level of athletic teams, from professional sports to little league teams, to carefully think about how they will play sports when it comes time for resocialization. However, she pointed out this challenge opens up opportunities “to think outside the box and emerge as better servant-leaders.”
Blandford-Green emphasized that resocialization will not be simple. “I have accepted that I will not have answers to every question, plan and/or thought that arises throughout the membership,” Blanford-Green wrote. “My goal and that of the CHSAA staff is to remain laser focused on the next steps for resuming CHSAA programs in a safe, educational, environment while mitigating operational efficiencies to reduce financial stressors for our membership.”
To help with this process, Blanford-Green announced the CHSAA is putting together a “Resocialization to Activities” Task Force which will start meeting after June 1. The task force will meet throughout the 2020-2021 school year and include “CHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory members, educational leaders representing all levels of administration, classifications and state geography.”
Blanford-Green emphasized the task force’s goal will be advising CHSAA based on current guidelines, not to provide definitive dates or timelines under pressure. The task force will address the following topics:
• Should students be fully engaged with in-person learning before the association resumes activities/athletics?
• Should we consider offering some activities/athletics if federal, state, medical and safety guidelines can be met at the local and association level?
• Should we consider moving some activities/athletics to later start dates i.e. September, October, January and extending completion dates further than the traditional activities calendar?
• Should we consider adjusting some activities/athletics to be conducted earlier/later than their traditional season?
• Should we consider on-line participation for some activities in place of physical presence?
• What safety measures will need to be in place to resume specific and/or all activities?
After discussing the task force, Blanford-Green told coaches, athletes and schools to prioritize “safety and well-being” during this time and to only provide answers when CHSAA provides clear information. “The CHSAA office will continue to monitor federal, state, health and advisory guidelines that will indicate when and if activities/athletics can resume in the fall or later. As with all decisions that are being made at the state and educational levels, we are in a holding pattern.”
Blanford-Green did add that coaches and athletes can have in-person contact starting June 1. She recommended that coaches review two documents: “Guidelines-Opening Up America Again,” and “NCAA-Core Principles of Resocialization of College Sports,” and emphasized the need to give specific instructions about resocialization during training and other practices (especially making it clear what schools or districts are liable for).
Blanford-Green gave an update on May 22 to CHSAANow.com, reaffirming that in-person contact will be allowed starting June 1, and adding that local school districts will decide after that day whether to go ahead with their summer sports programs. “Each district’s individual date of return has been fully supported by our office,” Blanford-Green said. “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.”
—G. Connor Salter