“Winter Sports Covid Statement”
The complications and force of the Covid virus, and how to integrate it into interscholastic sports, has demanded endless hours of study, conversation, debate and planning among state high school associations that are ultimately bound by state health, education and governing bodies. The National Federation of High Schools, Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA), and Prescott Unified School District strongly supports the return of athletics and competitive sports. However, it must be done so in the safest way possible.
We believe that education based athletics is a crucial component to the health and emotional well being of our student athletes and recognize that playing interscholastic sports is a privilege not a right and therefore a choice that families and student athletes make. We also recognize that with the increased risks of Covid, many families and student athletes will have to evaluate their own personal circumstances to determine if they feel it is safe to return to play.
With this foremost in the minds of the NFHS and AIA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee’s (SMAC), procedures, protocols and safety measures have been put in place for a return to play. These procedures, protocols, and measures all follow CDC, NFHS, AIA, as well as state and local health departments recommendations. These include but are not limited to, a phased approach to start dates, modifications to sport protocols, smaller cohorts, health screenings, increased sanitation, social distancing, and masks.
Many have asked how we can return to athletics when we are still in Distance Learning, one of the major reasons we feel reassured we can do this is the fact that our athletic teams are in smaller cohorts which allow us to limit exposure. Our coaches and athletes have been practicing under increased health protocols all summer, following the modifications outlined by the NFHS, AIA, and CDC and have been able to keep outbreaks from occurring while following the aforementioned guidelines. We understand the complexity of the current pandemic we are all living through and we recognize that each family will need to make the final decision as to what they feel is best for their family and student athlete. The Athletic Department at Prescott High School is committed to providing the safest environment possible for our athletes and coaches as we can in this very challenging time. While we cannot guarantee anyone’s 100% safety while playing sports or from Covid, we do feel that if we all work together to follow the NFHS, AIA, and CDC guidelines we can limit the risk and still provide opportunities for our student athletes to improve their skills, develop character, promote teamwork, and guide decisions.
Missy Townsend, CMAA
Prescott High School