It's Opening Day!
Fall activities get underway
Posted: Monday, August 17, 2020 - 10:31 AM
Whistles filled the air today as student participants experienced the Opening Day of activities for the 2020-2021 school year. It is a return like no other in the Minnesota State High School League’s 105-year history. Along with the shrills are expected to be an excitement and anticipation for a return to participation for the first time since mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world.
Along with it, high school activities were halted, learning models changed, daily lives were altered, and a new vocabulary was learned about protocols to combat the virus. It has been nearly 160 days since high school activities were shut down on March 13.
“Never have I appreciated the sounds of fall like I will this year,” Pine Island activities director Lisa Myran-Schutte said. “In the midst of maintaining six feet apart, an emphasis on masks and hand sanitizer, we get a chance to have athletes preparing for competitions. Athletes with teammates, teams with coaches, coaches with whistles.”
Opening practice sessions on Monday are participants in girls tennis, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls soccer and girls swimming and diving. Traditional fall activities volleyball and football were moved to the spring by the League’s Board of Directors on Aug. 4. Volleyball, football and spring sports participants that had their seasons cancelled in April may practice in a three-week fall training period, if approved by their school. Approved by the League’s board are training sessions from Sept. 14-Oct. 3 for football and volleyball participants, and spring sports participants may train from Oct. 5-24. A maximum of 12 training sessions may be held during those periods.
In preparation for Opening Day, the League compiled guidelines for member schools, participants and community members to help navigate safe and healthy seasons. Those guidelines may be found here:
Boys and Girls Soccer: https://www.mshsl.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/mshsl-soccer-guidance-and-information.pdf
Girls Swimming and Diving: https://www.mshsl.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/mshsl-swim-and-dive-guidance-and-information.pdf
Boys and Girls Cross Country: https://www.mshsl.org/sites/default/files/2020-08/mshsl-cross-country-guidance-and-information.pdf
Per League guidance, member schools are urged that the first week of practice should focus on implementing effective protocols and routines for pre-participating screens, effective social distancing and compliance with state health recommendations. To limit exposure to the virus, the season length and number of competitions have been trimmed. In-season tournaments and invitationals have been eliminated from the schedule. Girls swimming and tennis will be limited to dual meets while the largest cross country event will be a triangular.
“I am excited because (Opening Day) is “Fresh Start Day” with organized activities,” Eastview boys cross country coach Tom Sharp said. “That is so exciting. With our team, we talk about the 24-hour rule. We talk about being in the present and not getting stuck in the past. Every day is a new opportunity to grow, learn and get a fresh start.”