The news on Tuesday that high school football in Colorado had been postponed until the spring of 2021 was just final confirmation of how strange things have become in the era of COVID-19.
For all sports, the new plan for the 2020-21 school year, outlined by the Colorado High School Activities Association, calls for four abridged seasons instead of the usual three. Season A begins this week and ends in mid-October. The first practice of Season B is slated for Jan. 7 and concludes in early March.
Football is a part of Season C and the first practices are scheduled for Feb. 22. Season D begins April 26 and runs into late June. Because of an expected rise in coronavirus cases in the late fall, nothing will be scheduled between Oct. 17 and Jan. 7. Obviously, the new schedule is subject to change.
“We’ll do our best to make accommodations,” St. Vrain Valley School District Executive Director of Athletics, Fine Arts, PE and Health Chase McBride said. “All of them can be adjusted at some point. If people want to play, then we’ll conduct ourselves under the appropriate guidelines and if they don’t, that’s certainly their right as well.”
While most sports are now crammed into a five-month window in 2021, four will forge ahead this month and try to complete a season without any disruptions this fall.
On Monday at Ute Creek Golf Course, the Longmont and Skyline High School boys golf teams held tryouts during their first official practice. Over at Twin Peaks Golf Course, Niwot and Silver Creek High School did the same.
On Monday, boys tennis and softball will begin practicing and two days later cross country takes off running. While proper social distancing can usually be maintained in the other three fall sports, softball players are often in close proximity to each other and draw bigger crowds to their games.
“Our student-athletes will be required to wear a mask any time they can not maintain social distancing,” McBride said. “If a runner’s on first, the first baseman will have to wear one. If they get a second to breathe they can pull their mask down. Those that are not social-distancing need to put their mask on.”
With a sense of understanding this fall, everyone plans to proceed with caution. Yet facilitators and student-athletes also will try to create a few moments of fun and excitement over the next two months, before COVID-19 inevitably rewrites the schedule again.
In a post to its website, CHSAA noted “the resumption of all activities and athletics are subject to change based upon any changes to national, state or local guidelines.”
CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green in the same post stated, “We would like to thank our member schools and our school communities for their patience as we worked through the many challenges to get to where we are today."
Specific sport modifications, practice requirements, game requirements and procedures will be communicated by today, CHSAA stated. Bulletins can be found on CHSAANow.com. A schedule of sports by season including first practice, first competition and championship dates can be viewed here.