The plans for students to return to class for the 2020-2021 school year are still being determined, but athletic directors at the High and Junior High levels are maintaining their strategy of keeping their Fall sports schedules intact.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association announced Friday, July 17th that the Representative Council will continue to meet after discussing ideas of playing sports this year in a virtual meeting July 15th. The next scheduled meeting is for July 29th.

The first Fall practices begin statewide August 10th with football. Other Fall sports practices will begin August 12th. The MHSAA is still moving forward with their plan to have all Fall sports started and played as scheduled, according to their release.

The Association also recognizes that potential interruptions still may occur due to the spread of COVID-19. Contingency plans are still being conceptualized. Currently, the MHSAA has proposed that lower-risk Fall sports for contact - Boys and Girls Cross Country and Girls Golf for the Lower Peninsula - would be completed as scheduled, with the remaining "higher-risk" sports being postponed until later in the school year.

A reconfigured schedule for the Winter and Spring sports would become a reality if postponements and rescheduling occurs. Boys and Girls Basketball would begin in November. The combined Fall and Spring sports schedules would be extended to July 2021.

The 19-member Representative Council also considered flipping Spring sports to the Fall and vice versa, but determined that the moderate and high-risk sports in both seasons were still an issue and not feasible. Moving all the low-risk sports to the fall would also force student-athletes to choose which sport to be involved in, since most Cross Country athletes also are a part of Track and Field teams.

The MHSAA has also followed the plans in place for Governor Gretchen Whitmer's MI Safe Start Plan. The six-phase plan remains steady with the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula in Phase 5, allowing outdoor and limited indoor conditioning programs. The remainder of the state is in Phase 4, allowing for just outdoor conditioning, training and competition in all sports.

MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl stated that Governor Whitmer and the Association have worked hard over the last few months to stay on course for the upcoming school year, adding -

Our student-athletes just want to play, and we’ve gone far too long without them playing. But doing so safely, of course, remains the priority. Our plan moving forward is Fall in the Fall, starting on time. We’re excited to continue moving forward to bring back sports safely. It’s important for keeping students in our schools and keeping students in our sports programs.

The Association is continuing to build COVID-19-related policies for the upcoming Fall season as an extension of policies put in place June 1st statewide.

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