ST. GEORGE — During a meeting Thursday, the Utah High School Activities Association’s Board of Trustees moved to continue plans for a fall high school sports season and set out guidelines for the return of sanctioned events.
“Today’s move by the board is more of just a, ‘Hey, we’re pushing forward with planning to play,’ but there’s obviously new information that is going to come out, potentially from our governor, on where we need to go,” UHSAA Assistant Director Jon Oglesby said.
Oglesby told St. George News it’s a fluid situation, with Gov. Gary Herbert announcing the same day that masks will be mandated in all schools as well as the possibility of a move to orange precautions on the coronavirus alert level if case numbers do not decrease by Aug. 1.
This possible move to orange could be catastrophic for the UHSAA, as their guidelines listed during the board meeting indicate that at orange, teams would not be able to conduct sporting events and activities where teammates or opponents are within 10 feet of each other. This would take away most of the fall sports, outside of the likes of singles tennis and golf.
“I challenge us to get the average (seven-day) case rate below 500 by Aug. 1. Let’s see what we can do to change our behavior, not because government says we have to, but because its the right thing to do,” Herbert said in a press conference. “If we don’t, we know the ultimate results. We’ll have to make the disappointing decision of rolling back to orange and mandating masks. I say let the people make this decision and take the responsibility. We can conquer this.”
According to the press release from the UHSAA, the Board of Trustees will meet again in late July to discuss changes in state guidelines and the possible best practices for an athletics season.
As for the enforcement of guidelines from local health departments, the state and other entities, Oglesby said that the UHSAA would continue to encourage people to follow those guidelines and regulations
“Our sports medicine advisory committee is going to continue to advise based on best practices,” Oglesby said. “I think right now, it’s still a little bit early for us in terms of what final recommendations are going to look like.”
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