The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association released much-anticipated guidelines for schools to resume athletic activities in the form of summer coach contact on July 1, 2020. The WIAA indicates that the guidelines were formed in collaboration with the governor’s office, the Department of Public Instruction, and the Department of Health Services.

WIAA Letter to schools

Dear School Administrator,

Since the Board of Control approved an extension of summertime coaching contact at its May meeting, the Executive Staff has been collaborating with numerous entities to develop guidelines for resuming WIAA summertime activities in response to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within what has been a rapidly changing and evolving environment, we’ve done our best to research, examine and assemble the best advice we could identify, because this mission and responsibility is larger than just sports.

The guidelines created were produced and reviewed by the collaborative efforts and contributions of the doctors on the WIAA Sports Medical Advisory Committee, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Department of Public Instruction and the office of Governor Evers with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the National Federation of State High School Associations. The WIAA staff has also been collaborating with leadership of the Wisconsin School Music Association, Wisconsin High School Forensics Association and the Alliance for Wisconsin Theater Education.

These recommendations identify and focus on the assessment of two separate risk categories for potential exposure to respiratory droplets and transmitting COVID-19 contaminants, as well as the mitigation for spread of the virus.

First, there is an over-arching local and regional level of risk that is based on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, healthcare access and availability, trending number of cases either up or down, etc. This risk level is determined by state, local and Tribal health departments. Guidelines associated with these risk levels are located in Section A “Conduct of Conditioning and Practice Sessions” on page 4 of the guidelines document.

Second, the guidance identifies specific sports which, by their nature, are stratified as higher risk, moderate risk and lower risk. The rationale for the breakdown is associated with the amount of physical contact and duration of contact. As an example, the interaction of participants in higher-risk sports such as football and wrestling present more of a concern for transmission of the COVID-19 than lower-risk sports like golf. These sport levels of risk are identified in Section B “Contests” on page 11 of the guidelines document.

It will be the decision of each school’s district administrator to determine if athletics and other activities may operate in compliance with state, local and tribal health department directives as determined by each community’s most current level of risk.

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