Olathe Public Schools gives high school sports green light

Posted at 8:24 PM, Sep 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-05 23:35:04-04

OLATHE, Kan.  — High school sports in the Olathe school district have been given the green light.

Before the Olathe Public Schools Board of Education made the decision to move forward with fall sports at the high school level, they heard two hours of public comment.

More than two weeks ago, the district said it would follow the Johnson County Department of Health's gating criteria for reopening schools and would also assess sports and activities on a weekly basis.

After a 5-2 vote Thursday, fall sports are back on. Soccer will play as early as Wednesday and football on Friday.

Tim Brady, Olathe School District director of athletics and activities, said they are going to make it "really easy" for parents to attend games.

"We’re going to give them a pass, Brady said. "All they do is show the pass when they walk in, so there won’t be any exchange of money or face-to-face contact with a ticket seller, or somebody giving out a program or those types of things."

With protocols in place, the district is optimistic.

“Most of our sports are outdoors except for gymnastics and volleyball," Brady said, "but even with those two indoor sports, we’ve got some things in place that will have everything be safe."

Olathe schools will only play conference games, and football players will be required to do remote learning the entire season.

At the state level, Dr. Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said he is concerned that districts have been too accommodating.

“I think they’re trying the best they can, but I think there’s been certain instances where they’ve bent too far over backwards in getting people back in athletic programs," Norman said. "I would not be critical of people if they canceled programs."

Olathe football players will be required to quarantine for two weeks at the end of the season, or test negative for COVID-19.