LINCOLN – State officials are hoping Cass County students will be able to run, jump, serve, swing and throw in games and meets this fall.
Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) officials said Monday that the organization is preparing to begin the 2020 fall sports season as currently scheduled. The NSAA sponsors volleyball, girls and boys cross country, football, softball, girls golf and boys tennis in the fall.
NSAA Assistant Director Jeff Stauss said in a statement that the NSAA is preparing to allow schools to begin their first fall sports practices on Aug. 10. Conestoga, Elmwood-Murdock, Louisville, Plattsmouth and Weeping Water sponsor fall sports and will be able to begin official practices then.
“The health and safety of our student participants, coaches and officials has been our priority as we work to provide activities for our member schools,” Stauss said. “This will not change, and modifications may have to be made. Please be understanding and flexible as we continue to try to navigate through this pandemic.
“We will continue to work with the governor’s office, Nebraska Department of Education and the local health departments to make the best decisions for your students and our member schools.”
Conestoga sponsors girls and boys cross country, volleyball, football and softball. Elmwood-Murdock sponsors girls and boys cross country, girls golf, volleyball and football, and Louisville sponsors girls and boys cross country, volleyball, football and softball.
Plattsmouth sponsors girls and boys cross country, volleyball, football, softball and girls golf. Weeping Water sponsors girls and boys cross country, girls golf, volleyball, football and softball.
Conestoga and Louisville are sponsoring a co-op softball program called the Cass Wildcats for the first time this fall. Elmwood-Murdock and Weeping Water are sharing students for their cross country and girls golf programs.
Stauss said NSAA officials have spent time reviewing the current situation regarding the coronavirus pandemic in Nebraska. They have developed multiple recommendations for students, coaches, teachers, fans and school officials to follow during the fall season.
These recommendations include:
* Keeping all activities, practices and scrimmages in-house in order to avoid interaction with other teams prior to the competition season.
* Wearing masks when not in competition.
* Keeping groups small and recording attendance at each practice and game.
* Having coaches and players wash their hands regularly.
* Having coaches and school officials disinfect equipment regularly.
* Staying home is recommended for anyone if they do not feel well.
* Staying home is recommended if someone in a person’s household tests positive for COVID-19.
NSAA officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of last spring. The organization cancelled all spring activities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. School districts also transitioned from in-person classes to online education during the final part of the academic year.
Stauss said it would take teamwork from everyone in Nebraska to ensure the fall sports season taking place.
“Our ultimate goal is to return to school to have a full, productive, healthy season and create a great experience for our students,” Stauss said. “Please help us achieve this goal.”
The NSAA has set Aug. 20 as the first date for softball and girls golf contests. Aug. 27 will be the first date that schools can start cross country, volleyball, football and boys tennis contests. Schools will be allowed to take part in softball and volleyball jamboree games from Aug. 10-18.
Cass County schools will be following local directed health measures regarding different activities and their contact levels. Cross country and golf are both categorized as non-contact activities. Volleyball and softball are both listed as limited-contact activities, and football and cheerleading are both classified as contact activities.
Activities directors from Conestoga, Elmwood-Murdock, Louisville, Plattsmouth and Weeping Water have arranged schedules for their fall sports teams. There will be a greater chance of events being rescheduled during the season, as schools will have to follow many health guidelines if students become infected with the coronavirus.
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