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Fall 2020 Waconia Athletics & Activities Update

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) Board of Directors approved moving forward as scheduled on August 17th with four Fall sports (Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer, Girls Swimming and Diving and Girls Tennis) with limitations. The MSHSL Board of Directors also approved moving Football and Volleyball to a modified spring season (dates TBD with limited overlap of traditional Spring Sports).

MSHSL Fall athletics that were approved for play will have reductions to the total number of games and the length of season. The directive demonstrates a 30% reduction in the total number of events and a 20% reduction in the number of weeks to the regular & postseason. Competitions and travel will also be limited to conference/section and “local” schedules only and participation in scrimmages, tournaments and invitationals is prohibited. Culminating Section and State events are still TBD, with more information to come. Other general modifications included: safety recommendations for practice and play, guidelines for crowd limitations and transportation. The MSHSL is asking all schools to follow the Covid-19 Sports guidelines for Youth Sports created by MDH (included at the end of this message.)

Online Athletics Registration:

Our Waconia Wildcat fall registration system will open for the following sports only beginning Thursday morning, August 6th

Click here for Fall Registration

** If you have any trouble creating your account, connecting to your student(s) and/or

completing the registration process, please contact our athletic department at 952-442-0683 or Lori Schwirtz at lschwirtz@isd110.org

 

Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country – 9th-12th grade only

  • All returning Cross Country Senior student athletes and 11th-9th grade students are eligible to register. Program roster will be limited to 30 male and 30 female participants total. Rosters will be determined based on a try-out process.
  • First Day of Practice: Tuesday, August 18th at Bayview Track
  • Head Coach – Christian Gilbert – cgilbert@isd110.org

Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer – 9th-12th grade only

  • Student athletes in 9th-12th grade are eligible to register. The Varsity, JV and C squad rosters will be determined based on a try-out process.
  • First Day of Practice: Monday, August 17th at WHS
  • Boys’ Head Coach – Tyrel Seim – t.j.seim@isd110.org
  • Girls’ Head Coach – Ivan Woyno – iwoyno@isd110.org

Girls’ Swim and Dive  – 8th-12th grade only

  • Student athletes in 8th-12th grade are eligible to register. The Varsity and JV rosters will be determined based on a try-out process.
  • First Day of Practice: Monday, August 17th – at WHS Pool
  • Head Coach – Ashley Westphal – awestphal@isd110.org 

Girls’ Tennis  – 9th-12th grade only

  • Student athletes in 9th-12th grade are eligible to register. The Varsity and JV rosters will be determined based on a try-out process.
  • First Day of Practice: Monday, August 17th – at WHS Tennis Courts
  • Head Coach – Jeff Bessire – jbessire@isd110.org 

** Please note that while districts are operating in an in-person or hybrid learning model, students who opt into a full time distance learning model will maintain their eligibility to participate in Waconia Wildcat athletics and activities programs.

Sports Qualifying Physicals:

Student-athletes participating in a school-sponsored athletic program must have an updated sports qualifying physical every three years. Due to the demand on clinics during the COVID19 pandemic, the MSHSL Board of Directors approved an extension of the expiration date, thus all current physicals on file with the Waconia athletics department will extend for one additional year, essentially a four-year clearance for the 2020-2021 school year. In addition:

* Each student must still complete the annual health history questionnaire (this will be completed in the online registration system).

* Any student who had not previously participated and therefore does not have a physician approved sports qualifying physical on file, will be required to complete and submit this documentation prior to clearance for participation.

* Updated sports physicals can be scanned and emailed to Lori Schwirtz at lschwirtz@isd110.org

* If you have questions on the date status of your current sports physical on file with Waconia athletics, please reach out to Lori Schwirtz at lschwirtz@isd110.org

Status of Middle School Sports, Activities, Clubs & other non-MSHSL organizations:

Waconia Middle School team sports of Volleyball and Football scheduled for the 2020 Fall season have been cancelled. Additionally, 7th and 8th grade students’ participation in cross country running and 7th grade Girls’ Swimming has also been cancelled due to limits on roster size. Other opportunities that can be offered for WMS students’ are under consideration.

A decision about Fine Arts, Activities, Student Clubs & other non-MSHSL organizations will be made soon by District 110 administrators and communicated with our school community.

Crowd Size Limitations

As of today, the total number of spectators allowed at an outdoor event will not exceed the recommendations of the Minnesota Department of Health. (25% capacity up to 250 people, inclusive of event participants/staff). Spectators will not be allowed indoors (Girls Swim & Dive).

Transportation

Waconia High School plans to provide team transportation to away events. We will follow MDH guidelines in terms of how many athletes will be allowed on a bus at a time. (50% capacity during hybrid learning, 100% capacity during full in-person learning). Masks will be required when traveling to events on a district school bus.

Member of Team Tests Positive for Covid-19

If a case of COVID-19 is reported we will contact the Minnesota Department of Health. MDH will interview the case or parent/guardian, determine the dates when the case was infectious, identify anyone that may have been exposed, and collect contact information for those individuals. People identified as exposed (close contacts) are those who spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of the case while the case was infectious. Exposed persons (close contacts) will also need to quarantine for 14 days from the last contact with the COVID-19 case. Coaches will keep accurate rosters including who was at practices and games each day so we can do contact tracing quickly and provide necessary communication that could include individual, pod, and/or program quarantine.

Our department will be working collaboratively with coaches, directors and district administration over the next couple weeks to make necessary game schedule adjustments, along with creating plans and protocols that safely support our student learners and coaching staff through their engagement in fall athletics and activities participation. We appreciate and thank you for your support, patience and flexibility during these unique times.

Please see the following messages from the MSHSL:

News Release from the Minnesota State High School League

The Minnesota State High School League’s Board of Directors, at its meeting on Aug. 4, approved moving forward as scheduled with four Fall activities. Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer and Girls Swimming and Diving beginning on Aug. 17 with limitations. The Board of Directors also approved moving Football and Volleyball to a modified spring season. 

In approving the changes, the Board of Directors used information and frameworks provided by the Return to Participation Task Force in an earlier meeting.  These frameworks were grounded in the following guiding principles: 

  • Demonstrate health and safety to the greatest extent possible 
  • Align with state organizations and agencies around return to learn models 
  • Provide an opportunity for education-based participation in each sport and activity 
  • Demonstrate equity and fairness 
  • Acknowledge financial implications  
  • Apply guidelines consistently 

“Our Board of Directors recognizes the importance of the League’s activities in supporting the mental and physical well-being of our students and worked very hard to provide some level of participation in all activities. In addition, they recognize their responsibility in focusing on the health and safety of all who participate in or support these opportunities.”

Erich Martens, MSHSL Executive Director.

The decisions to provide seasons for Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer and Girls Swimming and Diving beginning on Aug. 17 and move competition in Football and Girls Volleyball to a spring season were made based on: 

  • Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-82 declaring that the return to learning would be a localized decision aligning with the current statistical situation and mitigation measures available in each district,  
  • The Minnesota Department of Education’s specific plan for returning to learning for the 2020-2021 school year,  
  • The Minnesota Department of Health’s Guidance for Youth Sports along with the National Federation of High Schools Return to Sports document, 
  • The MSHSL Return to Participation Task Force multiple frameworks for returning to participation, 
  • Review of and feedback from lead physicians from the MSHSL Sports Medicine Advisory Committee 

“We had very difficult, weighty decisions today in trying to balance the benefits of students across our state participating in activities with the risks involved due to the COVID-19 virus, I am very appreciative of the work of our Return to Participation Task Force and deep, thoughtful and intentional discussion of the board weighing the benefits of participation versus the inherent risk, and how that risk can be managed.”

Board President Blaine Novak of New York Mills

In recognizing the risks associated with both fine arts and athletic opportunities as well as the benefits that participation in these same activities provides, the board approved the following for fall sports at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, with these requirements as a minimum: 

  • All aspects of athletics including meetings, practices, competitions, transportation and facility usage must align with the requirements of the Minnesota Department of Education plan for return to learning, must follow the requirements from the Minnesota Department of Health’s Guidance on Youth Sports, and must include the required actions identified in the Governor’s Executive Orders.  
  • Schools that choose to offer fall athletics (including Girls Tennis, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Boys and Girls Soccer and Girls Swimming and Diving) may begin practice on Monday, August 17th. For schools that are required by localized metrics to be in a distance learning mode, practices are limited to virtual contact only.  
  • Football and Girls Volleyball will be delayed until a spring season. This will require further work in scheduling seasons through the winter and spring to provide opportunities for participation in multiple activities with minimal overlap of seasons.    
  • The first week of practice should focus on implementing effective protocols and routines for pre-participation screenings, effective social distancing, compliance with all health recommendations, establishment of pod limits of 25 or less, and additional actions that mitigate the spread of disease and enhance safety of students and coaches. 
  • Athletic programs must follow the identified protocols for students or coaches who have tested positive, are experiencing symptoms consistent with a COVID-19 diagnosis, or have had exposure to an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.  
  • The first day of competition is the later date of Monday, August 24th or the first possible date of competition as identified in the 500 series of MSHSL Bylaws per each activity. 
  • Interscholastic scrimmages will not be allowed. 
  • The number of teams involved in a competition will be limited to 3 teams.
  • Season length will be reduced to 80% or less of the limit identified in Bylaw 501. 
  • The number of competitions will be reduced to 70% or less of the limit identified in Bylaw 501. 
  • Competitions must be held with local opponents, defined as teams within a conference, district or section, or are identified as local by school administration. 
  • Competitions held with opponents from other states are required to meet the following: 
  • Full compliance with all requirements of the MSHSL and MDH 
  • Opponents from other states may not exceed a distance greater than 75 miles from the Minnesota member school. 

In addition to the information provided here, the MSHSL will provide sport specific guidance for each fall sport that will further identify any modifications and recommendations for both practice and competition in each sport.  

Message from the Minnesota State High School League:  COVID-19 NOTICE

In accordance with governmental directives, the MSHSL will offer certain activities subject to compliance with local, state, and federal laws, regulations, and guidelines. The MSHSL has put in place preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Even with these measures, the MSHSL cannot guarantee that students or other individuals, participating in organized athletic activities (“Participants”) will not be exposed to COVID-19. Participants and their parents/legal guardians should consider the risks before participating in any MSHSL activities. It is a shared responsibility to protect everyone from COVID-19 and Participants should follow MDH/CDC guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure:

* Stay home as much as possible;

* Stay at least 6 feet from other people if you are in public places;

* Avoid close contact with people who are sick;

* Wash your hands often, with soap and water. Wash for at least 20 seconds

* Always wash your hands after being in a public place;

* Always wash your hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing;

* If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol;

* Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Cough or sneeze into

your elbow or a tissue. Throw used tissues in the trash;

* Wear face coverings/masks that cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against

the sides of your face.

In recognizing the serious nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and positive impact that participation in MSHSL fine arts activities and athletics have on student participants, it is imperative that students and families know and understand the following:

* Participating in MSHSL activities is voluntary;

* While participating in MSHSL activities, all laws as well as MSHSL and school rules,

guidelines, and protocols related to COVID-19 must be followed;

* Participant acknowledges the contagious nature of COVID-19, and the Participant

understands that there is risk of injury and/or illness from participating in MSHSL

activities, including the risk to have direct or indirect contact with individuals who have been exposed to and/or diagnosed with COVID-19.

* Participant agrees that if he/she is exposed to, or infected by, COVID-19 during the

period of participation, they will immediately cease participation and follow Minnesota Department of Health protocols for schools and activities and MSHSL guidelines for notification and return to participation.

* Participant has signed a separate Eligibility Statement connected to general participation in MSHSL athletics/activities and agrees that the terms of that statement are wholly incorporated into this document and that the terms of this document are incorporated into the Eligibility Statement.

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