The Colorado High School Activities Association’s “Resocialization” task force, assigned to design a plan for resuming sports and activities in 2020-21 following COVID-19 shutdowns, faces criticism from the community and parents following its first meeting Wednesday.
The task force, which is made up of medical professionals, school administrators, coaches, CHSAA staff and at least one parent, split Colorado sanctioned sports into three categories: low, moderate and higher risk based on contact.
According to the release, the task force recommends CHSAA explore the possibility of beginning lower risk sports in fall 2020.
While no concrete decisions were made in the initial meeting, the release stated that at this time, CHSAA cannot move forward with sports classified as moderate or high risk.
“The hope is to be able to find an opportunity to play those sports at some point during the 2020-21 school year,” the release said.
Football, cross country, field hockey, boys’ soccer, softball, gymnastics and volleyball are fall sports that are considered "moderate or high risk," according to the task force. Boys’ golf, boys’ tennis and sideline cheer are the only fall sports considered "low risk."
With that in mind, CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said the “traditional structure of fall, spring or winter seasons has to be reexamined,” leading to a number of comments on social media from the community.
Follow your mission statement...let parents worry about if the risk is worth it or not. Your job is to get them on the field, court, or mat.— Angelia Watt (@Cowrestlingmom) June 4, 2020
Trust would be getting feedback from US PARENTS. Why can’t we sign waivers? I’m literally just waiting because if you don’t allow sports it I’ll just move to a state that does.— EmpressR (@raquelrhianna) June 4, 2020
The risk to our kids NOT playing is way higher then any virus that they may/may not get OR may/may not pass on. Their mental health is a top priority for me as a parent. Many of these kids are already together on a regular basis. Let the parents choose & sign off on it.— Kaydene (@KaydeneHubert) June 3, 2020
Thank you for your work. Please don’t let the vocal minority complaining take away from the vast majority of my colleagues that understand how you all have a good heart and we will play whenever you think it’s safe. Based on science. We just want a season.— Jaron Cohen (@JaronCohen1) June 3, 2020
Please do not overlap sports that are not traditionally overlapped. You will devastate kids and decimate all teams who depend on their multi sport athletes.— Michelle (@Mich_in_Colo) June 4, 2020
The virus is real. Keep that in mind. Don’t cancel sports seasons...look outside the box to make all the seasons work. Nothing bad about moving the high risk sports to the spring and having the low risk sports start in the fall season. Decisions need to be made though.— Tito Perez (@BigDaddyCoachP) June 4, 2020
In response, Blanford-Green released a statement Thursday morning, referencing some of the responses as "hysteria," specifically regarding parental voice on the task force. The original release did not specifically list parents as members, but Blanford-Green said in her statement there were parents included, referencing the parent of an incoming football senior and former college athlete.
She also added that CHSAA will begin to limit the sharing of information.
“It appears our transparency has opened us for attack,” Blanford-Green said. “We will hold future decisions closer to the vest to reduce your anxiety and the need to attack the very group that is advocating — no, fighting — through these unknowns and chaos for your children.”
“We are dedicated and committed to resuming athletics and activities in the 2020-2021 school year responsibly,” Blanford-Green said, “within the proposed statewide educational models, all viewpoints of health data, state and county guidelines, opinions — including parents, coaches, educators — and in communication with other state associations across the country.”
- The task force used National Federation of State High School Association guidelines, guidance from other states and national-level sports organizations, as well as more than 900 survey responses from Colorado coaches, athletic directors and administrators when splitting certain sports into the three categories.
-Swimming may be considered low risk if social distancing is followed, but would be considered moderate risk if guidelines are not met.
-Track and gymnastics are considered moderate risk due to the sharing of equipment.
-NFHS definitions of low, moderate and higher-risk activities:
Lower Risk: Sports that can be conducted with social distancing or individually with no sharing of equipment or the ability to clean the equipment between use by competitors.
Moderate Risk: Sports that involve close, sustained contact, but with protective equipment in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants OR intermittent close contact OR group sports OR sports that use equipment that can’t be cleaned between participants.
Higher Risk: Sports that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.