High school teams await guidance for summer activities
This weekend will mark two months since Oklahoma high school sports stopped due to COVID-19.
A March 17 decision by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) cancelled all spring sports due to safety concerns related to the virus. The decision simultaneously closed all team facilities.
Teams both across the state and here in Marshall County saw their seasons end; some before they started.
During the May 11 Madill Public School Board of Education meeting, superintendent Larry Case briefly brought up the topic of athletics at the end of his regularly scheduled superintendent’s report.
“Any questions for athletics or anything,” Case asked the assembled board members. “He knows about as much as all of us. It’s all up in the air.”
Case was referring to MPS athletic director Bink Stafford, who was in attendance at the meeting.
Case said many people around the district have asked when summer activities can begin.
“We’re gonna wait on direction from the OSSAA and the state,” he said. “If they open it up and I don’t want to have others going. I wanna follow what they do unless y’all rather I not. I figure if they’re gonna do that we’ll jump right in with ‘em.”
In a later conversation about graduation plans, Case said the district was looking at May 15 as the next date for the Oklahoma state government to provide further instructions for hosting large gatherings.
A spokesperson from the Office of Governor Kevin Stitt provided the following statement:
“The OURS plan states organized sports can resume under Phase 2, which is currently on track to start May 15. However, it is our understanding the OSSAA has issued guidance for school-sponsored activities. Since the OSSAA is an independent association, specific questions regarding school-sponsored athletics should be directed to the OSSAA and/or the Oklahoma State Department of Education.”
Latest from OSSAA
Although a specific return date is not yet known, the OSSAA posted a statement on their website on May 4 to offer some insight to when summer athletic activities can begin.
The OSSAA’s May 4 statement is as follows:
“As the official close of the school year draws near, we are receiving an increased number of calls regarding summer activities, what will be allowed and not allowed for the students, coaches, and directors.
“While we felt that it was important to establish statewide guidance for activities during the school year regarding the Covid-19 situation, we feel that it is equally important to provide some guidance for the start of our summer activities.
“Even though our state has started the “re-opening” process, we feel it is important for our member school facilities to remain closed until at least June 1. This will give us enough time to review data from our state and local government entities, our health-care professionals, and the other national sports and activities governing bodies. Based on the information we have at that time, we could adjust the June 1 date and/or add or relax restrictions to the summer activities regulations. Our focus has become doing all we can do to help preserve the opening of schools and activities in the fall.
“We will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation and will update this page when and if changes need to be made.”
The next scheduled OSSAA board meeting is Tuesday, June 9.
In an e-mail, Van Shay Iven, OSSAA’s sports information director, said the OSSAA’s June 1 reopening date will not be moved up.