Anchorage School District again delays the start of sports

The Bartlett High School Golden Bears face off against the Chugiak Mustangs at Mulcahey Field in Anchorage for the 2017 state football semi-final. Casey Grove/Alaska Public Media)

The Anchorage School District is postponing the start of school sports and activities until at least Aug. 20, citing an escalating number of COVID-19 cases.

The impacted sports include gymnastics, football, flag football, cross-country running, swimming and diving, cheerleading, tennis and volleyball.

The district had previously pushed back the start of the season until at least Aug. 5. It announced Wednesday that it’s extending the delay until Aug. 20, the first day of school. The school district announced last week that it also plans to start all classes online next month because of the growing number of infections in the municipality.

On Wednesday, the district said it’s working on mitigation plans for each of the seven fall sports with the hope that they can begin a “reduced season” as early as Aug. 20.

“The District will determine whether sports and activities can begin after August 20 based on the community health situation and District risk level,” the school district said in a statement.

The district said it knows the the decision is disappointing for athletes, but it’s necessary.

“While we recognize the physical and mental benefits of participation in prep sports and activities, we have a public responsibility to weigh these benefits against the need to protect students and coaches from the increasing risk of exposure in our community,” the statement said.