The following is an update from our CHSAA Commissioner on the Fall 20/21 season. Thank you for your patience. Hang in There! GO TIGERS!
The changing directives, recommendations and guidelines from national, state and health officials surrounding how and when we will “return to learn” and “resume athletics and activities” has heightened anxieties and increased the demand for definitive answers from educational leaders. In our genuine desire to be helpful, compassionate and “in control” we often feel compelled or pressured to answer. Not having the answers isn’t a reflection of a commitment or desire to provide guidance, but a full acknowledgement that we have been placed in a culture of unknowns and answers can’t be definitive. We want to continue to provide our membership with an assurance that the CHSAA staff remains focused on resuming all athletics and activities in 2020-21 safely and equitably (not equal) for the many students, coaches, officials, and school communities that are looking to the Association for statewide leadership. We will provide answers and direction when applicable as not to exacerbate the confusion that currently exist as we are navigating our personal and professional lives.
Could we move forward with the current guidelines and announce the start of some sports/activities? Absolutely, but our lens and strategic plan for the future of all programs must be broader. Our responsibility and accountability as an educational institution must set higher safety standards for participation than the “free for all” that we observe at our local parks/recreation and youth events each day. We aren’t them and will continue to advocate for recognition through our relationships with state and health officials for the latitude to conduct high school events applicable to the membership’s operational realities and comprehensive needs.
The CHSAA staff has completed and submitted our proposed requirements and safety guidelines for practice, competition, event management and officials oversight to the Governor’s team for review, revisions, and ultimately approval. Once we receive feedback, we will forward next steps to the membership. Our staff is ready to announce start dates, provide guidelines and present in multiple educational outreaches but we will not move forward without an assurance from our state and health departments. Direct communication with these groups and approval of requirements, requests and guidelines specific to high school programs will provide us with negotiating leverage should guidelines become more restrictive during a resurgence or the predicted second wave. We advise that you share with your coaches and school communities that decisions and guidance will be provided when they are definitive per state approval. Their timeline is our timeline and there isn’t a definitive date.
We understand that many administrators, coaches, and parents are fearing for the worst after the cancellation of spring sports and are looking for reassurance. Our staff will continue to communicate optimism and work with purpose and intent to safely resume “all” athletics and activities for the 2020-21 school year. Our messaging albeit gray as we await answers must be collective. We are in this together and our strength and ability to emerge victorious from these unprecedented times can be done, if we continue to work and communicate as a team!