ROBERT MAGOBET

Before the Kansas State High School Activities Association decides on a date to start fall sports, the organization will need to survey district superintendents.

This was announced after the Kansas State Board of Education voted Wednesday not to approve Governor Laura Kelly’s mandate that schools should not open until after Labor Day. The KSHSAA board of directors will meet early next week for a vote.

KSHSAA also announced that the decision about implementing the original start date of high school sports on Aug. 17 will take place later. Board members noted a sense of urgency to come to a decision, knowing that the season was to start in just three and a half weeks.

Additionally, the board approved guidelines for the upcoming season, including delegating responsibility to individual member schools to host, cancel or participate in jamborees, though KSHSAA discouraged jamborees. Other guidelines for football include to “keep non-essential personnel off the sidelines and practice fields throughout a contest and practice, (and) schools should establish a protocol on cleaning and sanitizing of all player equipment (helmets, shoulder pads, etc.) and locker rooms on a routine basis to mitigate risk. Participants can be required to clean their own equipment daily as the protocol from the school,” among other guidelines.

Also, in what appears to be an effort involving students virtually learning and being able to participate in sports, KSHSAA also approved a “Remote Learning and Direct Instruction Policy.”

The policy states that “Students who are receiving direct instruction via remote learning and are enrolled in at least five new subjects of unit weight will be eligible for participation in KSHSAA sponsored activities only at the member school in which they are enrolled and receiving instruction.”

But students who attend a third party virtual school and don’t maintain a dual enrollment at their member school are not eligible for the 2020-21 season.

In the Universal Guidelines, the organization spells out the importance of wearing masks, except for students participating in activities, and staying home when feeling sick.

Other considerations include adjusting the players’ box on the football field and offensive and defensive huddles being held in rows as opposed to circles. Other sports, including girls golf and boys soccer, were also taken into consideration.

Final KSHSAA findings, guidelines and considerations will be announced in the coming days. 

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