Questions remain as fall practice window opens for area Kansas schools

Football Practice
Posted at 6:01 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-17 19:33:40-04

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — So far, so good, according to some Kansas City-area schools in the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

High school athletes participating in fall sports were approved to begin practicing Monday, and so far, all parties involved say the process is going smoothly amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Coaches and players, students realizing that if I do my part, then we can make this work as a whole,” KSHSAA spokesman Jeremy Holaday said.

Schools inside the Blue Valley, Shawnee Mission and Olathe school districts told 41 Action News that players and coaches followed strict mask mandates and social distancing guidelines, committing to staying safe on and off the field.

“You'd be naive to say that this is just the 2020 fall season practice just like any other year; it just looks a little different. And it should look different,” Holaday said.

But districts are still adjusting. While Shawnee Mission is allowing football and competitive cheer teams to practice, those competitions have been put on hold, citing the high-risk nature of the sports and possible spread.

“We're going to do everything that we need to do in order to make sure that it's safe," said David Smith, a spokesman for Shawnee Mission School District. "And I know that all districts are going to do the same."

Meanwhile, the first day of scheduled practice was halted at Blue Valley North after a cluster of small cases was discovered.

The conversations continue as some schools hope to play an abbreviated fall slate. Leaders from six area school districts will meet with the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment on Tuesday to discuss logistics surrounding athletic competition.