MSHSAA releases guidelines for coming school year, acknowledges risks
COLUMBIA – The Missouri State High School Activities Association has issued plans for reintroducing sports and activities during the coming school year.
The plan hopes to avoid the disruption many students saw during the 2020 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the points issued in the plan – a school "point-person," who will be responsible for "their school’s risk mitigation strategies."
The report also states that districts or schools that do not return to in-person education will be unable to take part in any MSHSAA sponsored activities.
The report also requires all coaches, advisors and participants for activities to screen themselves for coronavirus symptoms before MSHSAA sponsored activities. People who report symptoms are advised to immediately move to a closed off portion of the activity area and report to a health care provider.
If a person participating in an MSHSAA activity tests positive for the virus, all other participants who had contact with the positive case are to be barred from that activity for 14 days, and will be required to complete a "return to play" form.
Other guidelines include recommendations for increased cleaning, avoiding overnight travel and social distancing at all events.
KOMU 8 spoke with Hickman head football coach Cedric Alvis about the guidelines.
Alvis said he's just happy they didn't cancel the season.
"With everything going on, there's so much talk about you know, will we still have football season," Alvis said. "So, for MSHSAA to send out guidelines about rules, I was really optimistic just because it wasn't canceled."
Most football teams in Columbia began on-field workouts already but the tentative date to start fall sports is still scheduled for August 10.
Needless to say, Alvis recognizes the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The other crazy thing about this whole process this whole time is that they're like each week we're learning additional information about the disease. So, it's something that is a moving target so to speak."
Former MU football coach and current Jefferson City athletic director Ehren Earleywine said these guidelines cause for some changes.
One of the changes is that schools participating in virtual-only learning will not be allowed to participate in athletics. Jefferson City and CPS offered virtual and in-person classes, making them eligible to compete in fall sports.
Anyone on the sideline of a sporting event not participating in athletic activity is subject to wearing a mask according to Earleywine.
"Face masks are going to be required for anyone that is not participating in strenuous activities," Earleywine said. "If you're a coach, an administrator, an athlete not participating in the game at that time they are going to require face masks for everything we're doing."
The full MHSHAA guidelines can be found by clicking here.