Will Alaska schools see sports in 2020?

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:20 PM AKDT
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There are plenty of unanswered questions about the rapidly approaching 2020 school year. In Anchorage, there is talk of

. Some prep football programs have gone as far as

. That begs the question: will we see school-sanctioned sports in Alaska in 2020?

The Alaska School Activities Association is currently working on a set of guidelines to ensure the safety of student athletes. Executive Director Billy Strickland said the goal is to do "every bit that we can do, safely."

"We've put together a group of small and large school user groups to put together what we believe are pretty good recommendations on how schools can safely return to activity this fall," he said. "Almost daily, the recommendations change, but we wanted to put something out so schools could start their planning."

The guidelines will likely mirror the Alaska Department of Education's "Smart Start 2020" initiative which is essentially a road map detailing how schools would operate at a low, medium or high levels of risk.

Currently, Alaska's schools are categorized as low risk, but beginning the school year at medium risk is possible if case numbers continue to rise.

Strickland says the matrix for considering how to carry out school activities would take each level of risk into account, as well as whether the event is indoor or outdoor and whether travel would be necessary. Identifying potential COVID-19 "hot spot" communities could complicate things even further.

The ASAA guidelines will likely be implemented and enforced differently based on a case by case basis, depending on the schools involved and the specific nature of each sporting event. According to Strickland, it would ultimately fall on other groups (school districts, municipalities and parents) whether or not to allow their children to participate.

"The rules are going to be the same across the board, the difference is going to be who's able to feel like they can operate within them," Strickland said.

The full list of guidelines is expected to be released in the near future. No exact timeline for publication has been given.

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