The Colorado High School Activities Association announced a "Resocialization" task force Friday to examine steps that need to be taken before resuming high school sports in the 2020-21 school year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the end of April, Gov. Jared Polis told 178 public school superintendents to prepare for the possibility of continuing virtual or distance learning in the fall, in which case CHSAA has begun preparations to examine the best practices to determine how or if athletics and activities can resume.
The task force, which will begin meeting next month, will be made up of CHSAA sports medicine advisors, the board of directors, other CHSAA staff and educational representatives and administrators from across the state, according to a release. CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said administrative representatives will span the state and classifications in hopes of equal representation of the state’s diverse needs.
Within 24 hours of sending the announcement to Colorado schools, Blanford-Green said she received an outpouring of interest and support, including from District 11 athletic director Chris Noll, who said he is "100 percent in support," of CHSAA’s collaborative efforts across the state.
“The representation with all the concerned parties is huge for me,” Noll said. “If we are going to get through something like this we need to do it together and think outside the box.”
Blanford-Green added that no selections of educational administrators who will serve on the task force have been made, but the primary resource will be the CHSAA sports medicine advisory, which includes a group of 10 or more. It includes infectious disease specialists, pediatricians, cardiologists and athletic trainers.
“We are looking at a collective group of potentially 30 people for the task force,” Blanford-Green told The Gazette. "It’s pretty big but I think in order to get the diverse opinions needed to move forward we must include those in rural Colorado, and those in the west and south and make sure those voices resonate because there are different needs occurring in different areas.”
To adhere to state guidelines the task force’s first gathering will likely be planned as a virtual meeting, according to Blanford-Green, and a summary of meeting notes will be made available to the public.
"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," she said in the release.
The task force will remain throughout the 2020-21 season and in June will begin examining a list of predetermined questions about how to resume athletics and activities next fall.
- Do students need to be fully engaged with in-person learning before the Association resumes activities and athletics?
- Should CHSAA consider offering some activities and athletics if Federal, state, medical and safety guidelines can be met at the local and Association level?
- Should CHSAA consider moving some activities and athletics to later start dates, such as September, October, or January, and consider extending the end of the season further than the traditional activities calendar?
- Should CHSAA consider adjusting some activities and athletics to be conducted earlier or later than their traditional season?
- Should we consider online participation for some activities in place of physical activation?
- What safety measures will need to be in place to resume specific and/or all activities?
It has been more than three weeks since CHSAA announced the official cancellation of the 2020 spring sports season and highlighted a moratorium on coaches contact with athletes regarding workouts through May 11. Coaches are now permitted to hold structured workouts virtually until the restriction of athletic facilities lifts on June 1. Then it will be up to individual districts to determine if they will resume coach-player contact.
“(District 11) has not made a decision, we are just monitoring everything that Governor Polis is saying,” Noll said. “I think schools are in a holding pattern until you start seeing restaurants open up, and some of those big box gyms open up. Until then we will monitor the situation and stay in contact until we reach that next phase.”