Will area high schools conduct fall sports?

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting nearly everything in the United States and around the globe, including professional, college and high school sports in the U.S.

As schools continue to discuss plans for opening school, so too are they trying to work out what the fall sports scene will be like, or if they will have fall sports at all this upcoming school year.

As everyone knows, circumstances can change quickly, and each school district will have to adapt their plans rapidly regarding the opening of school and regarding fall sports.

Most schools are scheduled to begin on Sept. 1. High school fall sports practices usually begin in early to mid-August for most sports. Football practice can begin as early as Aug. 4 this school year. 

Spring sports were canceled throughout the state this past school year, and area schools are not offering spring sports in July.

Individual school districts are looking for guidance from the WIAA as to how to proceed regarding sports, and will need to make their tentative plans soon.

“We hope there is opportunities for schools to open and conduct interscholastic activities,” said WIAA Communications Director Todd Clark. “However, we understand things will be done a bit differently this year with the pandemic mitigation guidelines. How and when each school will be able to move forward to practice and compete will be the decision of local/tribal health departments and the schools based on the level of risk in their respective communities.

“We are focusing on trying to get high school students re-engaged with peers, coaches, etc., because of the research and growing sentiment concerning the psychological toll on teens not being connected with sports.

“Our office is working on fall sports competition guidelines that we will be sharing with the membership within the next couple of weeks.”

“Nothing has been decided yet and no meetings have occurred as we are waiting to hear from the WIAA and all others that need to issue guidelines,” said Sara Godfrey, Prairie du Chien assistant athletic director and Southwest Wisconsin Conference (SWC) Commissioner, about whether Prairie du Chien is going to participate in fall sports this upcoming season, and whether the SWC has been meeting to discuss requirements for fans, athletes and coaches if fall sports are offered.

During the Monday, July 14 school board meeting, it was noted that Prairie du Chien sent a letter to the WIAA asking if fall sports can be held in the spring.

River Ridge Athletic Director Wade Winkers said the fall sports possibilities at River Ridge and  throughout the Six Rivers West Conference is yet to be determined.

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