After postponing the start of the fall sports season until the first day of school, the Anchorage School District announced that high schools will be able to begin practice Aug. 17, three days ahead of schedule.
The season will start in a “limited manner” according to the district with sports teams being allowed to begin conditioning only practices.
The district said guidance from the Alaska State Activities Association allows fall sports to begin, even in a high risk situation, because “sports practices are optional and can operate outside in small groups of less than 50 students.”
Youth sports organizations in Anchorage were able to operate and continue using screening and distance protocols such as maintaining 10 feet of distance while exercising, daily health screening for athletes, and requiring masks. The district said it implemented similar protocols over the summer, and learned from other youth sports organizations, and will continue to use those types of protocols.
The start of regular practices will depend upon health conditions in the community, the district said. New cases of COVID-19 have been lower recently in Anchorage after rising for weeks but the district remains at a high-risk level.
The district cited an “outpouring” of messages from parents and students advocating for a fall sports season and encouraged community members to follow the city’s health mandates.
“The District is once again encouraging all community members to observe the Mayor’s health mandates to help reduce the spread of COVID -19 so our student athletes can enjoy the benefits of participating in school-related sports and activities this fall and eventually return to school in person,” the district wrote.