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Plans made for return to activities

By Kevin Mertens - Staff Writer | Dec 13, 2020

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) is moving forward with plans for returning to winter activities.

The League’s Board of Directors met on Thursday, Dec. 3. They adopted a flexible plan brought forth by the League’s Return to Participation Task Force for the restart of winter activities once clearance is provided by state governmental leaders.

Currently Executive Order 20-99 is in place, which mandates a four-week pause in activities designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The order is scheduled to expire on Dec. 18.

The flexible plan adopted by the MSHSL board includes the possibility of beginning the winter season on one of three dates: Dec. 21, Jan. 4 and Jan. 18.

Each plan allows for two weeks of practice before play begins and also has provisions for the possibility of three weeks of postseason play. Included in the plans is a provision for adding state tournaments to the winter seasons with the format to be determined.

“With the dynamic nature of COVID-19, flexibility is going to be critical for our programs,” executive director of the MSHSL, Erich Martens, said. “We need to remain flexible in the start of seasons and in carrying them to conclusion.”

All models presented by the Return to Participation Task Force were constructed with a focus on providing an experience in every one of the League’s activities and sports. In addition, health and safety, recommendations from state organizations and agencies, and the unique aspects of each sport were a part of the planning, according to a press release from the MSHSL.

“We know the state and our schools are facing extremely high case counts and the adjustments in the models may need to take place, and if so, we are ready to make those adjustment in our calendar,” Martens said. “Should the winter season restart get pushed later, we may see shorter seasons and fewer games.”

The models, which also included a projected view of spring activities, maintain a traditional number of spring season contests and an end date of no later than June 19, 2021.