As Colorado continues to take hesitant steps towards the resumption of high school sports in the fall, Poudre School District put a freeze on its summer workouts Wednesday.
The district, which serves schools in the Fort Collins area, said it will suspend all voluntary activities for the remainder of July after multiple student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 at two PSD high schools. That includes athletics and any other summer programs that the district normally runs.
No plan for August was announced, and there is no timeline for a decision.
“We know this was likely a disappointing decision for families, and it wasn’t an easy one to make,” said Madeline Noblett, a PSD spokeswoman.
Poudre High football coach Marty McVicker said he found out about the district’s plan Tuesday, a day after he had a student-athlete test positive for the coronavirus. He thinks PSD is making the right decision.
“For the safety of the kids and the coaches and the people that are around them, even if it’s just one case I think it’s important to make sure we get a handle on it before we go forward,” he said.
Fort Collins High football coach Matt Yemm agreed, although he said he and his players are disappointed, but not surprised given the severity of the pandemic. After almost four months in quarantine, Yemm said his student-athletes have learned to live life in flux.
“We’ve been kind of preaching the message all summer long that the boys need to be ready to adapt,” he said. “That’s just what we’ve come to realize these last several months. News is going to be changing every single day and we need to adapt so I think — unfortunately — they’re used to things like that happening more regularly now.”
PSD’s announcement came a day before the Colorado High School Activities Association sent out an update that stated the organization is still waiting on a decision from the governor’s office on the return-to-play plan it submitted.
“Their timeline is our timeline, and we will be ready to play, with planned modifications, once approved,” CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in the statement.
Even though CHSAA is the governing body of high school sports in the state, summer guidelines are enforced by local entities. Mandatory team practices are scheduled to begin Aug. 10, however, and McVicker said he doesn’t see how the season can start on time now.
“I hate to speculate,” he said. “But it seems like when we have one positive test, it shuts everything down. Once school starts again, I’m guessing there’s going to be more positive tests when classes resume, if we resume in person, so I’m just really skeptical.”
The news comes amid a new spike of COVID-19 cases in Larimer County, where 103 new positive tests have been reported in the past five days. According to the Larimer County data, people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for 20% of its cases. The district is supposed to welcome back students Aug. 17.
PSD originally allowed teams to return to workouts June 22, but mandated teams submit plans for following the county’s health guidelines. The district did not have the resources to test all of its athletes, so teams like Yemm’s Lambkins relied on symptom checks to determine who could participate.
“At the end of the day, we care deeply for our kids, for our coaches, for our staff,” Noblett said. “And we make decisions rooted in what we think has their best interests and their safety in mind.”
Source: Read Full Article