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Schools transitioning from winter to spring sports

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 11:09 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It may not look like it outside yet, but Alaskans are now well into the season for some spring sports and the longer the snow stays on the ground, the longer the sports will stay under The Dome.

Sports like track and field and soccer they are already in their fourth week. Soccer was supposed to start back outside on the April 19 and track and field on the April 24. Mother nature has thrown a wrench in that plan, though, forcing the Anchorage School District to come up with a new plan.

”We have had crews out there actively removing the snow to give us the greatest chance to open up that turf, but it looks like we are going to extend our time in the dome by a week or two until we can make that full transition,” said Martin Lang, director of secondary education for the Anchorage School District.

While The Dome is a great resource for high school teams to practice indoors, athletes are excited to get back outside.

“I am anxious to get outside because we alternate with the schools, so it is not an everyday thing, so when we get outside we will do a lot more running and a lot more regular track stuff,” said Denisha Snow, a West High School track and field senior.

Snow explained that they alternate times with other high schools throughout the week, meaning they never have the same set practice time at The Dome. This can make for some interesting training regimes as teams wait for the snow on their own school tracks to clear.

“We have been running in the hallways, running stairs and we have been in the weight room,” said West High School’s track and field head coach Antonio Wyche. “We have some times in the Dome and make sure we utilize the times that we can use.”

As for the COVID-19 precautions for spring sports, they mirror those from the winter sports. A COVID-19 evaluation form is filled out before practice and competitions, temperatures are taken, and masks are worn at all times. The only sports right now that the district is requiring a weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 test from are hockey and wrestling.

Lang said the only exception is if a student is fully vaccinated, meaning it has been two weeks since their second dose. Then, he said “they don’t have to participate in the testing, similarly if a student has previously had a positive COVID result, they don’t have to participate in testing for 90 days.”

The only exception for a mask to not be worn in competition is in wrestling. Since wrestlers are taking part in the weekly asymptomatic testing, they are not required to wear their mask while they are in a match on the mat. The second they are done with the match, though, they need to mask up.

Major news for indoor spring sports also came out of Emergency Order 20, which Acting Anchorage Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson announced this week. Attachment D of the order states:

“Indoor organized sports are allowed to host spectators provided the total number of spectators does not exceed four (4) per athlete and not less than six feet (6 ft.) physical distancing can be accommodated for all spectators or household groups.”

This means hockey and wrestling will be allowed to have four people per athlete to attend their games, which is a major increase from the previous limit of two.

As the snow begins to melt and the pandemic continues to impact how Alaskans live their everyday lives, everything could be subject to change in the coming weeks.

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