CASPER — The Wyoming High School Activities Association (WHSAA) announced Tuesday that all fall sports will begin on time. With the collaboration of the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) and the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE), the WHSAA’s Smart Start Fall Sports Guidelines were established and approved to return students safely to the six fall sports offered, according to a press release.
Practices are scheduled to begin on Monday, Aug. 10, for 4A football, golf and tennis. On Aug. 17, 2020, cross-country, 1A thru 3A football, girls swimming and diving, and volleyball will begin their practices.
“We are excited for our students,” WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said. “We appreciate the WDH and WDE working with us to be able to approve a plan we all believe can safely return our students to their sport. This is a great example of how working together will allow our students to continue to enhance their educational experience. We know the mental and emotional issues those students experienced last spring when track and soccer were canceled.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow said, “I cannot overstate the importance of allowing students to safely participate in activities this fall. Activities are essential to the physical, emotional, and social well-being of our children and fundamental to our mission in K-12 education of building character and necessary skills in our youth. My staff, the WHSAA, and the Wyoming Department of Health have diligently created a framework for activities that schools and communities can use this fall. It will take all of us, including parents and the students, doing our part to make this fall successful.”
“We realize this is only step one in making sure this fall is successfully completed,” Laird emphasized. “This is going to take a concerted effort by all involved. The focus is on providing the opportunity for the kids. I have complete confidence that our administrators, coaches, parents, and fans will join forces and follow the guidelines to benefit our students. With the ever-changing conditions that exist during the COVID-19 pandemic, we know we are going to have to be flexible and ready to adjust. We believe we have those plans in place for each sport.”
The WHSAA Board of Directors will be giving further guidance to schools concerning the six fall sports to assist them in their planning of social distancing for each sport. Reducing the total number of competitors at each event will be a priority. The board will also be considering adjustments to culminating events to reduce numbers as well.
The WHSAA is asking everyone to join together to make completing each sport this fall a reality, reminding people that “Our students deserve everyone’s best effort!”