High school sports’ return date still unknown, for now

By Andrew Hanlon
Sports Editor
The current target date for a return to high school sports sounds like July 1. That date marks the official start of the 2020-21 Wisconsin School District Fiscal Year.
Governor Tony Evers extended the state’s official Stay-At-Home order on April 16, closing all Wisconsin schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 year. Despite the Wisconsin Supreme Court striking down the Stay-At-Home order on May 13, all state schools will remain closed through the end of the current fiscal year.
On April 21, the WIAA Board of Control voted to cancel the 2020 spring sports regular season. Spring coaches were allowed to continue to provide individual virtual instruction for student-athletes with training, conditioning and skill development through the end of the spring sports season – however, coaches were not allowed to be involved with training, practices, scrimmages or contests until, “at the earliest, July 1,” according to the WIAA’s press release.
“Fall and winter sports coaches’ contact may begin July 1 – provided restrictions on assembling in groups are removed – and will follow the existing prescribed summertime dates and unrestricted contact regulations with a maximum of five days of contact,” the release continued. Meaning, since those restrictions were removed by the State Supreme Court, sports are allowed to resume July 1.
However, with no official word from the WIAA as of June 1, schools are still in a holding pattern.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance on reopening schools, which included recommendations such as:
• Spacing desks at least six feet apart with all desks facing the same direction.
• Installing plastic barriers in areas distance can’t be maintained, such as reception desks.
• Having staff and students, particularly older students, wear face masks as much as feasible.
• Serving students lunch in classrooms instead of in a cafeteria.
There has been a lot of speculation as to how and when activities may resume, even among administrators, but right now it’s still too early to tell; everything is still on the table.