The board of the Utah High School Activities Association last week approved an on-time start for high school activities and sports practices, a spokesperson said. Locally, Grand County High School sports and activities are set to begin as scheduled with protocols for symptom-checking, mask-wearing and other public health measures to be put in place
The plan from the association is in accordance with guidance handed down March 28 by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert that called for K-12 schools and public universities to welcome back students later this summer.
“The association’s governing board also affirmed a stance of allowing schools and local school districts, in conjunction with local government leaders and health department officials, to determine whether participation in high school activities is allowable and advisable under statewide and local guidelines,” said Jon Oglesby, assistant director of the association.
Oglesby said the board of the association will meet again in late July to “continue dialogue regarding statewide health recommendations and best practices.”
Ron Dolphin, the Grand County School District’s athletics and activities director, said that GCHS would be following the association’s guidelines, which include guidance on practicing physical distancing between students when possible, mask requirements where feasible, regular symptom and temperature checks of students and faculty, and permission slips for parents to sign that make clear the viral risks that extracurricular activities pose to students amid the pandemic.
The announcement Friday concerned “education-based activities” but Oglesby said when asked about sports in particular that the plan “to start practices for this fall for UHSAA-governed sports and activities is on schedule.”
Rob Cuff, executive director of the association, told The Salt Lake Tribune that principals favored starting fall sports on time as schools reopened. He told the Tribune that the big reason for canceling sports in the spring, when the pandemic shut down the state and much of the rest of the country and world, was that schools had suspended in-person learning at the time.
Cuff also told the Tribune that when a team chooses not to play a game, it will be treated as a “no contest” rather than a forfeit so it won’t negatively affect the team’s ranking.