Updated: December 03, 2020 07:02 PM
Created: December 03, 2020 06:04 PM
The Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors met Thursday to discuss the future of winter sports, and members said they'll be ready to go "if and when" the state ends the pause we are in right now.
"Right now, we are offering virtual practices for our athletes, and they are showing up," Cindy Clough, head coach of the Brainerd High School Dance Team, said.
Virtual practice right now looks like two dozen screens with dancers in each small square for the Brainerd High School student-athletes.
"We are going now five days a week doing that with our athletes," Clough said.
This winter sport is allowed to practice virtually because their season had already started when Gov. Tim Walz announced a statewide pause in youth activities two weeks ago.
But there is now talk about what it could look like when the pause ends.
Thursday morning, the MSHSL approved three potential plans to get kids back in action, but it is all contingent on COVID-19 numbers and state guidelines.
The three models show potential start dates for winter athletics, possibly as early as Dec. 21, which could mean competition begins Jan. 4, 2021.
The other two models have start dates of Jan. 4, 2021, or Jan. 18, 2021.
"Each one of these plans has been through the Minnesota Department of Health for their feedback and response to what is in this and they are built with using best practices out there, working with advisory groups, and also vetted by sports medicine and MDH as we put these out," MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens explained.
Dance has one of the earliest state tournaments, held in mid-February each year.
Clough is hopeful athletes can get back together safely for practice sooner, because if it's later in January, she said their season may need some modifications.
"What we are hoping, as a coaching community in Minnesota, is that they would bump that back, the state tournament, to like, for instance, March 15 or something," she said.
When things do resume, winter sports will end the week of March 29 to honor and allow for a spring season, which was impacted last year.
For now, coaches and athletes wait, patiently and positively.
"I feel positive, I'm going to roll with whatever we can do for these kids and I'm just hoping we can make it happen safely and get the kids back in," Clough said.
The MSHSL board also approved virtual section and state tournaments for debate and one-act play. Some of those tournaments will begin this weekend.
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