This week, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear shared cases of COVID-19 in the Bluegrass are officially on the decline.
Educators and coaches are now taking that into consideration as they make hard decisions about when high school sports will resume play.
Kentucky High School Athletics Association made the call: sports are back for student athletes, although getting things officially underway is still going to be a process.
“I truly believe that 2021 will look a lot like 2019. But I don’t think 2020 will look like anything we’ve ever seen. And I hope it doesn’t look like anything we’ll ever see again,” said Julian Tackett, who serves as KHSAA commissioner.
In preparation for what 2020 has in store the rest of the year, KHSAA board members have issued a new set of guidelines meant for a slow ramp back up to some sense of sports normalcy.
Starting June 15, low contact sports like golf can start their practices, and high contact sports like football can start doing small group exercise drills.
Come June 29, those low contact sports can start playing, and high contact sports can do small group practices, but with the end to try and reduce touching.
Local sports leaders say, just being able to have some sort of sports play back means so much to the student-athletes.
“I’ve heard from a few players, a lot of coaches today. They’re all very excited. Want to know when they can get started, when we can do this, when we can do that. I’m trying to encourage them all to make plans. But we need to be slow and patient,” explained Todd Harper, Owensboro High School’s athletics director.
Getting back on the court or the field though brings benefits beyond just the physical and emotional health of the players.
“Lets get these kids back with their coaches sooner rather than later. Our high school coaches in many cases know more about what’s going on in a kids home life than anyone in the building. They know what kinds of situations those kids are going through. They likely know what kind of situation they’ve been through the last few months,” Tackett continued.
But KHSAA members stress that–like much of Kentucky’s reopening–plans are always subject to change.
“What is true today may not be true next week. So we never know what type of restrictions we could come back under. These dates could be moved up based on what happens over the next few weeks,” said board member Jeff Saylor.
KHSAA is leaving the implementation of their guidelines to the local level, and given that students can sign up for a wide range of sports across Kentucky–from fishing to football–its best to reach out to coaches and school staff for the best specific direction for your kids and their individual sports.