DENVER (CBS4)– Gov. Jared Polis announced on Wednesday that the state will conditionally approve the Colorado High School Activities Association’s request to make certain outdoor sports available this fall. Those sports would then be played in the “A” season should the CHSAA board and local communities choose to move forward.
These outdoor sports include football, field hockey, cheer, and dance. Schools will still have the choice to offer these sports in the “C” season if they prefer.
However, if a community falls out of compliance and more coronavirus cases are documented to escalate to Level 3 in the “Safer at Home Public Health Order 20-35,” the approval will be re-evaluated. It may even be rescinded in that community.
Last week, CHSAA resubmitted proposals for football and other sports to Polis’ office.
The announcement follows days of protests over CHSAA’s decision to push the fall football season to the spring due to COVID-19 concerns.
“We have worked closely with CHSAA to approve their request, issue guidelines and assist in creating a process that supports a return to football, field hockey and cheer,” said Polis in a statement. “If the CHSAA board decides to add these sports to their fall calendars, it will be up to local school districts, administrators and parents to choose what is right for their communities. The state has approved these requests in order to empower all schools to make the choice that is right for them and their student athletes.”
The big focus is on football, typically a fall sport. Just last week, the board voted to maintain the 2020-2021 sports calendar, which was initially approved on Aug. 4. That included the football season scheduled to begin with practices Feb. 22, 2021 and conclude May 8, 2021.
CHSAA told CBS4 on Wednesday evening that the board was reviewing the decision from Polis’ office and voted just hours later to approve the proposal.
Additional Information from Gov. Jared Polis’ Office:
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety (CDPHE) sent a letter to CHSAA outlining the guidelines around how schools and communities can offer these sports in as safe a manner as possible.
In addition, CDPHE released guidelines for organized sports, to help clarify the standards required for a safe return to play for both high school and club sports alike.
If CHSAA would like to provide schools with the option play football, field hockey, and cheer/dance in season A with increased roster sizes, they may do so for any county that is in Protect Our Neighbors, Level 1, and Level 2, which currenty includes every county in the state, pending they follow all of the required guidelines.
The state is also requiring that:
- All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must wear masks while not actively playing or performing.
- All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must be six feet apart from non-household members on the sidelines or while not in active play.
- All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must stay in their designated areas off the field of play, and may not go into spectator areas.
- All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others must wear masks and observe social distancing during transportation.
- Roster limitations established by CHSAA must not be exceeded.
- Cheer/Dance participants must follow the requirements laid out in other guidelines for performers and be at least 25 feet away from spectators and players at all times.