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Sun Prairie Area School District Athletics and Activities Director Eric Nee announced in an email Monday that the start of the winter sports season will go on as scheduled, however, all athletic competitions have been suspended through Jan. 22, 2021.

“As many of you are aware, the school district decided to continue with virtual instruction during Q2 (Jan. 22) for grades 3-12 on Sept. 29,” said Nee. “I sent out an email outlining our plan to start to bring in small cohort groups for contact days and club activities beginning on Oct. 19 — this is allowed by the WIAA based on decisions they made relating to contact days and by Public Health Madison & Dane County — which has published specific sports guidance. Therefore, athletic decisions will continue to align with our academic decisions.”

Nee continued: The start of the winter sports season will look vastly different than they have in the past. At this time, we will work in small groups and limit the maximum size to 10 participants at a time. Participating students will be split into fixed groups (cohorts) whenever possible to minimize mixing. To start the season, all instruction will be skill and drill work, not full practices — there will be no intrasquad competitions allowed.”

During all activities, everyone must maintain 6 feet of social distancing and wear a fabric face covering. Based on these guidelines, coaches and athletes will be using a number of facilities in the district for practices.

“We will be assigning teams to a specific facility, and they will use this facility until further notice,” Nee said. “Please look for more information around practice locations in an email in the near future. If a family chooses not to participate in these small cohort groups, skills and drills will be provided to athletes on a virtual platform.”

The official start dates for 2020-21 for Sun Prairie winter sports include girls basketball, boys and girls hockey and gymnastics on Monday, Nov. 16, and boys basketball, boys swimming and wrestling on Monday, Nov. 23.

“Leading up to Nov. 16, I will continue to work with coaches to ensure that we can conduct these practices in a safe manner. To do this, it will take everyone involved to do their part,” Nee said. “We will need to make sure that everyone understands and is adhering to all Public Health Madison Dane County Sports Guidance and the Sun Prairie Return to Athletics Cohort Group Guidelines. All students/families should review the SPASD Student COVID 19 Symptom Screening Checklist daily before sending to school/athletics.

The Sun Prairie Area School District Infection Response Plan will be used in consultation with the district nurse to respond to any suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19. All guidelines and response plans will also be used when we return to full in-person athletics and activities.

Prior to students being cleared to participate, everyone must complete their athletic registration through Infinite Campus. Students will not be cleared to participate if this is not completed. You can find the information on a new “Athletic Online Registration” at https://www.sunprairieschools.org/high/athletics/athletic-info. Please follow the instructions carefully. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call. Our department will notify coaches as students are approved to participate.

“While we are eager and excited to get our students back on campus and work with them, I cannot stress enough how important it is that we follow all guidelines. Moving forward, watch for an email from your coach with details on practices will be laid out. If you need contact information for your coach, you can find all contact information at https://www.sunprairieschools.org/high/athletics/teams. If you click on the team you are interested in, you will find their contact information on the next page.

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