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Thu, Aug. 06

Start of school athletics and activities delayed until Aug. 17

Viking Shaelee Echeverria spikes the ball over the heads of a Grand Canyon player in October 2019. Because of COVID-19, state officials said school related athletics will not start until Aug. 17.  (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Viking Shaelee Echeverria spikes the ball over the heads of a Grand Canyon player in October 2019. Because of COVID-19, state officials said school related athletics will not start until Aug. 17. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

PHOENIX, Ariz. — In response to Governor Doug Ducey’s executive order for the state of Arizona, the AIA will delay the resumption of all school-related athletics and activities until Aug. 17.

This will push back the starting dates of practice for all fall sports and activities, and delay the start of competition seasons.

Originally the AIA asked members schools to outline their reopening procedures by July 10 for football and fall soccer and July 24 for additional fall sports including badminton, swimming and diving, girls volleyball, golf and cross-country.

Instead, the AIA will continue to meet with the numerous statewide stakeholders and prepare to create alternative sports schedules. The principals will receive surveys at a later date to more closely coincide with the state’s target date of reopening schools.

“We couldn’t be more disappointed about the information that just came out regarding our schools. However, we understand that the most pressing concern is to ensure our student-athletes can return to school in the safest way possible,” Executive Director David Hines said. “We will do everything in our power to make sure that when we get back up and going again, the transition will be as seamless as possible and to create memorable interscholastic experiences. And we’ll be able to accomplish that as long as everyone does their part to stay safe and prevent the spread of the virus.”

The governor’s executive action means members will continue to operate under summer rules as per AIA Bylaws and Sports Policies until schools are officially reopened.

Arizona is still currently in Governor Ducey’s first phase of statewide reopening. Additionally, member schools should continue to follow the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee’s recommendations for phase 1 activity.

This includes small group activity for 10 people or less with a coach onsite, but public facilities (including gyms) remain closed. Athletes will be kept in small training groups (cohorts).

Screening for symptoms will occur daily and if an athlete is showing any symptoms or discloses symptoms or illness, parent will be called and the athlete will need to be seen and cleared by a healthcare provider. Disinfecting and cleaning of all personal equipment and material will occur before and after practice as well as any other time there is contact with another person

Exact dates for the beginning of competition will not be finalized until the AIA gathers much-needed information from the schools to present to the AIA Executive Board for consideration. If revised timelines for the fall interfere with the winter sports season, those schedules will also be addressed at a later date. Additional information will be shared as the association navigates through these developments.

“For everyone, please stay safe and vigilant in our fight against the Coronavirus. Following health department guidelines and taking proper precautions will go a long way for schools to be able to reopen,” Hines said.

Information provided by the Arizona Interscholastic Association

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