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Safely Back to School: What will fall sports look like?

Some will be different, others might not
Posted at 3:43 PM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 21:40:32-04

(FOX 17) — What are high school sports going to look like this fall?

That's a difficult question but high school across the area are preparing kids to get back into athletics in the coming weeks.

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"Right now for athletics we are probably the most prepared of everybody," said Leroy Hackley, Jr., athletic director at Orchard View High School. "Everybody is trying to find out how they are going to get back to school. For us, it really hasn’t changed that much yet, because we are expecting to go August 10. and we are already set to go there."

Practices and competitions are set to start on time in sports like tennis, cross country, and golf.

"In the golf game, it is pretty much you get together on the first tee, and as you get to each tee box after that you can really stay away from each other," said Kent Graves, girls golf coach at Forest Hill Northern High School. "So, it really should not be a big deal for us.

The three-time defending state champion Forest Hills Northern girls golf team plans to have masks and hand sanitizer in their golf bags to use in practice areas where they are more likely to be around more people.

The Huskies have one schedule change as well.

“For the last five years, we’ve started with a big two-day tournament up in Traverse Cit,y and we are not going there this year, for several reasons," Graves said. "We didn’t want to stay in a hotel. It is 36 teams up there before the tournament starts. After the tournament finishes, there is just a ton of people standing around, waiting on top of each other, and I just wasn’t comfortable.”

For higher risk sports such as football, volleyball, and soccer, practice will start as scheduled, but decisions on competitions will be made by August 20.

If these sports do go on to have games, they are likely to look different. No decisions have been made on spectators, but even if there are fans in the stands, on-field celebrations are unlikely to take place in 2020.

“The players want people in the stands. As an athletic director, from a budget standpoint, I’d like to see people in the stands," Hackley said. "We are hoping they are going to be able to do that. Hopefully we will be able to do it and say, 'Look, unless you are with your family, we need you to social distance.' If you don’t do that we may not have football.”

Many other traditions in high school sports may have to take a year off. Of course, changes are possible and likely over the next few weeks.

“As athletic directors, we are used to doing things on the fly because we have snow days and rainouts, and the lights go out in the middle of a game," Hackley said. "So, we are not really in that panic mode yet, and we really shouldn’t be because we are really the last piece of getting school back and getting kids back in the school.”

The indoor fall sports volleyball and swimming and diving are contingent on the reopening of indoor facilities. They will practice outdoors until that happens.

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