STEVENS POINT, Wis. – The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association has released guidance and recommendations for member high schools to resume summertime athletics programming and other activities beginning July 1, 2020.
The guidelines were produced and reviewed by the collaborative efforts and contributions of the doctors on the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee, the WIAA Executive Staff, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Instruction, the office of Governor Evers. The recommendations are best practices when returning to summertime sports activities in accordance with state, local and tribal restrictions and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Federation of State High School Associations.
“Within what has been a rapidly changing and evolving environment, we’ve done our best to research, examine and assemble the best advice we could identify,” Executive Director Dave Anderson said. “This mission and responsibility is larger than just sports.”
The WIAA has shared these guidelines with athletic directors, principals and district administrators of all member schools. It will be the decision of each school’s district administrator to determine if athletics and other activities may operate in compliance with state, local and tribal health department directives as determined by each community’s most current level of risk. The health and safety of student-athletes, staff and community remains the top priority in determining all return-to-play considerations.
Similar to the manner in which different parts of the state may re-open ahead of others based on the data available and local governance determination, the guidelines outline the protocol and direction to resume high school sports according to local and regional levels of risk based on the number of confirmed and trending COVID-19 cases and access to available health care. Member schools should consult state, local and tribal health departments to determine the most current level of risk when initiating return to activities and when they might progress through the levels. To address an expressed concern about inundating state, local and tribal health departments with inquiries on a community’s level of risk, we strongly recommend that school districts designate one person to serve as the liaison to handle all communications with state, local and tribal health departments.
The guidelines also include identifying the level of risk associated for each sport as recommended and modified by the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. Sports competitions, by their nature, are categorized as lower, moderate and higher risk based on potential exposure to respiratory droplets, the amount of physical contact and the duration of contact.
The WIAA guidance document also addresses the progression for returning to summertime training and conditioning; team practices; competitions; disinfection of facility, equipment and implements; hygiene practices; transportation to-and-from events, and social-distancing expectations. Additional information, including sport-specific guidelines and other best-practice resources will be provided to member schools as they become available in the coming days and weeks, or when new information from leading health organizations requires amending.
The “Guidance for Summer Activities” can be accessed on the WIAA website at: www.wiaawi.org. Navigate to the “Health” page link at the top of the homepage and navigate to the “Infectious Disease” page. Additional information, including sport-specific guidelines and other best-practice resources, will be provided as they become available in the coming days or when new information from leading health organizations requires amending.