The Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) moved last week to delay the start of Season B by at least three weeks. SHS sports that will be affected are boys and girls basketball and wrestling, plus girls swim & dive for those competing at WHS.
The original start date for Season B of January 4 has been moved to January 25 for practice and February 1 for competition. This start date is pending approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of the requested variances submitted by CHSAA to the Governor’s COVID-19 Response Team for all Season B sports. The change in start date for Season B also affects Season C and Season D. All three seasons will, in effect, be one week shorter in length (seven weeks long now instead of eight weeks long) and the change will move the start dates back for Seasons C and D to eliminate overlap between season.
In a letter sent to CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green, CDPHE indicated that Season B would not be permitted to begin on Jan. 4, as had been scheduled on the CHSAA 2020-21 sports calendar. CDPHE further said that no variances will be given to CHSAA sports at this time.
In the letter, Jill Hunsaker Rye, Executive Director of the CDPHE wrote:
The COVID-19 pandemic has reached an all time high in terms of disease transmission both in Colorado and around the nation. The Colorado School of Public Health estimates that 1 in 40 Coloradans are currently infectious. Hospital admissions are steadily increasing, and the past six weeks have produced a significant increase in the number of deaths statewide. With the Thanksgiving holiday just behind us and the impending December holiday festivities, we are very concerned that the rate of transmission will continue to increase.
At this time, we do not have enough information about what disease incidence and hospitalization capacity will look like in January, and therefore are unable to make a determination regarding indoor high school athletics in Season B. Season B high school sports would operate based on the restrictions in the level of the Dial in the county in which the school resides. For counties in Level Red, this means no indoor group sports are authorized.
In addition, our top goal for the new year is to support a return to in-person learning. Season B sports are conducted mainly indoors during the colder months, which reduces the ability to assure social distancing. This in turn may further promote disease transmission at a time when we need to ensure that students and teachers are protected and that in-person learning is the highest priority.
We welcome an ongoing conversation regarding the indoor requests at a future date as more schools safely open their indoor facilities for students.
Specific guidance for each sport may still vary within its sports season, dependent upon an approved CDPHE variance and other factors such as equity with other similar sports that were completed in Season A in the fall.
In addition to the change in Seasons B-D, athletes in the Weld RE4 school district have to abide by local guidelines. County health department and school districts will determine open gym policies, per state guidance. For the remainder of the calendar year, no Weld Re4 school-related athletics or activites will be allowed at any location, and no school facilities will be used to host any activity for in-district or out-of-district events. The hope is that the high schools will be able to start some activity prior to the first official practice date of January 25th. Current district decisions will be reviewed and amended as necessary at a date in the near future.
(parts of this post were taken directly from a Ryan Casey article published on CHSAANow.com. Please visit that article for specific information on sports and their seasons, including dates)