Schools across Missouri have closed their doors, either temporarily as in Lincoln County, or till the end of the school year, like the Warren County School District.
As the unprecedented situation develops, the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) office staff continues to prepare for spring championships – though any championships that do happen will have a very different look and feel than those in the past.
A press release from the MSHSAA said its staff continues to find possible venues and back up venues, as well as continue to develop multiple variations of what a postseason may look like.
“MSHSAA is committed to the safety of our student-participants and the health of our school communities,” the release stated.
“Accordingly, in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations regarding public gatherings, schools are reminded that it is not necessary or prudent for any number of students to gather for workouts, regardless of how those students gather or whether any MSHSAA rules are broken by said gathering.”
MSHSAA Communications Director Jason West said staff continue to work with the MSHSAA Board of Directors, which is comprised of administrators from around the state.
“Once schools are back to in-school classes, we will broaden the spectrum,” West said. “Each member school will have the ability to include MSHSAA events if they would like. We know that if schools get back to the building, there will be a lot of moving parts to complete the school year. Spring MSHSAA events may not be one of those moving parts.”
Getting ready for the future has its challenges, given how the current state of affairs is in constant flux.
“It is a two-edge sword, really,” West said. “On one side, it is pretty easy to formulate plans because pretty much everything is on the table right now. So anything is possible. On the other side, because there is so much unknown it is very difficult. So many venues can not commit to hosting events right now. So even if there is a plan, it can’t be accomplished without a site to host the event.”
While schools are closed due to the COVID-19, teams are not allowed to practice or participate in competitions. This includes informal/player-led practices or any type of instructional session.
“National, state and local governmental leaders are clear: To help our country slow the spread of this pandemic, the best thing society can do is limit its interaction with one another,” the release states. “So, despite how difficult this may be, the MSHSAA office strongly recommends students, parents and non-school coaches/trainers follow this advice.”
Doing so could ultimately end up salvaging the spring sports season.
All CDC, Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education recommendations for preventing disease transmission should be followed at this time for any school or non-school activity in which a student participates.