MHSAA Issues Guidelines for Return to High School Sports

The Michigan High School Athletic Association issued a series of updated timelines and recommendations to its members on Friday as a guide to return to sports.

Until Michigan’s current “Safer-at-Home” order, which runs through Friday, June 12, expires or is lifted by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, there can be no use of any school facilities, whether indoor or outdoor, and there can be no organized on-site athletic activity, including conditioning or competition.  Once the order has expired or been lifted and schools districts reopen their facilities to staff and students and the 2019-20 school year has been completed by that district, a return to activity recommendations can be implemented.

The MHSAA’s guidance for reopening sports is based on direction given to the MHSAA and the National Federation of State High School Associations’ Sports Medicine Advisory Committees, as well as from reopening plans by the Michigan and federal governments and recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Concepts from the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee were also taken into consideration.

The MHSAA counts more than 1,500 public and private schools as members, including 750 high schools.

“The MHSAA and its representative council believe restarting school sports is essential to the physical and mental well-being of students, and the guidelines outlined for schools today provide the ‘How’ for schools to return to athletics when they’ve received the go-ahead from state and county health officials,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a statement. “We are thankful for our state government, state education and health departments, our medical partners and the NFHS for their guidance these last few months, and we will continue to follow and pass on their recommendations as we prepare our schools to bring back this part of student life that’s been sorely missed.”

Currently, the only activity permitted for an individual includes outdoor recreational activity and cannot involve school coaches, be sponsored by the school or occur at any school facility.

The MHSAA has also permitted voluntary virtual communication and instruction from coaches to players for all sports during the summer.

“The concept is that students can continue to individually condition themselves (by walking, hiking, running), but there should be no organized, group activity by any person until at least June 13. We must all continue do our part to flatten the curve in hopes of increased activity over the coming weeks,” Uyl said. “Again, it is important to note that this document addresses ‘How’ schools can return to activity; the decision on ‘When’ schools can return to activity will be done under the direction of state government and health department officials. As government actions impact this timeline, the MHSAA will continue to update all involved.”

To view a full list of the MHSAA/NFHS guidelines for reopening, visit here.

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