Prep sports to begin on time

Posted 7/30/20

For the first time in several months, high school sports are on the horizon.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association announced Tuesday that fall athletics will begin on time, with …

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Prep sports to begin on time

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For the first time in several months, high school sports are on the horizon.

The Wyoming High School Activities Association announced Tuesday that fall athletics will begin on time, with procedures in place to keep student-athletes safe. The organization’s Smart Start Fall Sports guidelines were established from a partnership between Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and Wyoming Department of Education (WDE).

The guidelines pertain to social distancing, screening, sanitizing, spectators and more.

Athletes will be required to be screened prior to competing, and sharing equipment is strongly discouraged. Whenever possible, event personnel are expected to social distance.

As for spectators, fans will be permitted at events. However, families from different households will be required to physically distance from one another, preferably wearing face coverings.

Practice will start on Aug. 10 for golf and tennis teams, and it will begin on Aug. 17 for cross country, football, girls’ swimming and diving, and volleyball.

“We are excited for our students,” WHSAA commissioner Ron Laird said. “We appreciate the WDH and WDE working with us to be able to approve a plan we all believe can safely return our students to their sport. We know the mental and emotional issues those students experienced last spring when track and soccer were canceled.”

While the return is now on the calendar, Laird is well aware of the pandemic’s effects and how easily it can spread. To have a complete fall sports season with no road blocks, it will require a diligent effort from everyone, he said.

“We realize this is only step one in making sure this fall is successfully completed,” Laird said. “I have complete confidence that our administrators, coaches, parents, and fans will join forces and follow the guidelines to benefit our students.

“With the ever-changing conditions that exist during the COVID-19 pandemic, we know we are going to have to be flexible and ready to adjust,” he said. “We believe we have those plans in place for each sport.”

Powel High School Activities Director Scott McKenzie said there will be changes to the various sports schedules, where the school will “work to adhere to the guidelines set forth.” More than anything, McKenzie wants to keep his students safe while they’re competing in the midst of the global pandemic.

“We realize that some of our upcoming changes may not appeal to all, but we are in this business for our kids,” McKenzie said. “We will do whatever is asked of us to keep our young people and those around them safe.”

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