Kansas high school sports coaches, student-athletes, parents and fans will get their first look at what the upcoming fall sports season could potentially look like as soon as this week.
In a media call earlier this month, Kansas High School Activities Association Executive Director Bill Faflick told media in attendance that they anticipated further guidance from the State Health Department in what the school year will look like no later than Friday July 17th , 2020.
“We’ll use that to fine-tune anything we have in place,” said Faflick.
“We know it’s a fluid situation. We want to be prepared when that happens so we can move forward and allow activities to still take place.”
With the suggestions and recommendations of social distancing and an added emphasis of health and safety, schools and their coaches are not only noticing a change in workouts, but behaviors as well.
“Our numbers are down a little bit from the last two years I have been here,” said Eureka’s football coach Jason Nichols.
Meanwhile, Burlingame High School football head coach Jeff Slater noted that despite the pandemic summer conditioning at USD 454 has been record setting.
“I think that had a little to do with the kids having all spring off, parents and athletes were eager to get back to somewhat of a normal schedule.” Said Slater.
The Bearcats coach noted a very high percentage in attendance with above 90% attendance for their high school sessions and above 80% attendance for their junior high sessions.
Anderson County football head coach Logan Pegram echoed a strong start to the summer program, however recently numbers have tapered off.
“Summer attendance started off very strong across the board. We have seen a dip the last couple of weeks with the holiday,” said Pegram.
Eureka’s Nichols credited the junior high student athletes to remaining steady.
While many await the first reveal of KSHSAA’s plans for fall sports in the 2020-2021 academic school year, summer conditioning has been a welcomed return to normalcy in uncertain times.
“Emotions have been in good spirits for the most part,” said Slater.
“As a coach and school, we wanted to provide an opportunity for our kids to give them some home, in case athletic season were taken away.”
Pegram mentioned a similar sentiment for the Garnett-Anderson County.
“I would say the kids are very upbeat and excited to see their friends and teammates. They are excited that we have a possibility of having a fall sports season. They are positive that can still happen and doing the right things to help that go on.”
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly will announce an education plan for the state for the upcoming school year with the COVID-19 pandemic still prevalent. The media conference can be seen on her official Facebook page. Eastern Kansas Sports will share the link on Facebook once it’s available.
KSHSAA’s Faflick has already struck down the idea of high schools in Kansas “flipping seasons”. Many states across the country have already announced moving upcoming fall high school sports to the spring season.
NJCAA board of regents passed a resolution today that will move their football season to spring of 2021.
However, Kansas coaches remain optimistic that there will be some sort of fall sports in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As coaches and adults we have to be united in the effort if we want a fall sports season in Kansas,” said Pegram.
Slater added, “There are a lot of tough decisions to be made in coming weeks. I feel for our kids the most, because these are years that you don’t get back.”