Berthoud Weekly Surveyor | Covering all the angles in the Garden Spot

CHSAA receives variance to allow season B sports to begin Jan. 18

By: Dan Karpiel | The Surveyor | December 31, 2020 | Sports

The on-again, off-again cycle of high school sports in Colorado appears to be back on again.

On Monday, the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) announced that, after a number of meetings and discussions with Gov. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and state health officials, a variance had been secured from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) that will allow for traditional winter, or “season B,” to begin a week earlier than initially planned.

According to the CHSAA press release, “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 Jan. 18. Through collaborative negotiations, the Jan. 18 start date aligns with Gov. Jared Polis’ announcement to prioritize in-person or hybrid learning models.”

As a result of the variance approval, Berthoud High teams will be allowed to begin holding formal team practices for boys and girls basketball, girls swimming, wrestling and competitive spirit on school properties beginning Jan. 18. Competitions in those sports will be able to begin Jan. 25.

This change moves up the previously announced plans for the start of “Season B” sports, as reported by the Surveyor Dec. 10, by a week. When CHSAA announced the amended sports calendar for the 2020-21 school year in August, Season B sports were initially set to begin Jan. 4.

“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.”

Earlier this month, when CHSAA and the CDPHE announced the delay of the start of Season B, the organizations found themselves on the receiving end of widespread criticism for the decision. Using social media, student-athletes, parents and coaches from all corners of the state expressed vehement dissatisfaction with the delay. Several public protests and rallies were held with attendees holding signs with messages such as “Let Us Play” and “No Reason for No Season.”

Those who were arguing in favor of a resumption of high school sports argued that the safety measures are in place to assure safe competition for all involved. They also pointed to successes in other states across the nation, including states neighboring Colorado that have had successful seasons with little to no increased incidence of the virus.

Supporters also pointed to the success of club sports, which do not require state sanction to operate the way public school sports do. The various loosely aligned groups that held protests and spoke out on social media against the delay and restrictions argued the seemingly constant changes to the sports and activities were beginning to take an emotional toll on student-athletes and pointed to increased suicides which have been at least partially attributed to isolation.

CHSAA stated that virtual meetings will be held beginning Jan. 4 with Athletic Directors from schools across the state to iron out the details of the competition. The Surveyor will continue to cover this always-changing situation.

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