CHSAA Season B will start practice Jan. 18 after CDPHE variance approval

RBC | Following multiple meetings in the past week, including this weekend, CHSAA has secured variances from CDPHE and state officials which will allow all Season B sports and activities to begin practice on Jan. 18.

The following sports have been approved to start practice on Jan. 18: Ice hockey, skiing, girls swimming, wrestling, basketball, and competitive spirit. The approved calendar will be revised to begin competition on Jan. 25.

Originally, Season B was proposed to begin on Feb. 1. Through collaborative negotiations, the Jan. 18 start date aligns with Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement to prioritize in-person or hybrid learning models.

“For months, our office has been laser-focused on students and the safe resumption of high school sports and activities in 2021,” said CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green. “The conversations with CDPHE and the Governor’s COVID Response Team to resume Season B sports have been intentional and assertive. Though it has taken many late nights and weekends, we are thrilled that our student-athletes, member schools and local school communities have a resolution. Educationally-based athletics are a vital extension of the classroom.”

The CHSAA administrative staff has planned a series of virtual meetings for athletic directors and coaches to provide details on the implementation of each sport. These meetings will begin on Jan. 4.

Under the current dial levels, CHSAA-sponsored events could not be conducted due to public health restrictions at the state level that limited the number of athletes to practice or compete in a facility. For example, the current guidelines only allow basketball to have 10 total individuals (including coaches, athletes, trainers, etc.) in a gym.

Therefore, variance approval from CDPHE and state officials were critical to begin any sport or activity. For example, the basketball variance will permit teams to have 24 players total, as well as coaches and trainers.

Approval of these variances allows for statewide consistency and sustainability of competition when diverse local health interpretations could restrict member participation regionally.

“We’re all in this together,” Blanford-Green said. “Our state officials, especially CDPHE, have a responsibility to prioritize student safety. We appreciate their support and advocacy for resuming athletics and activities for the state of Colorado in 2021.”

Special to the Herald Times