Winter sports contests and competitions under sponsorship of the Minnesota State High School League may resume beginning Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, after updated information within COVID-19 Youth and Adult Sports was announced by the Minnesota Department of Health. Included in the announcement was the release of a new document COVID-19 Sports Practice Guidance for Youth and Adults.
This new guidance and information is an important step as the League continues forward with a winter season model approved by the Board of Directors. This flexible model will be adapted to include the start of practice on Jan. 4 and the start of competitions on Jan. 14. The League continues to work with member schools to provide leadership and support to ensure the safest possible return to sports and activities.
“These experiences are so important to students and they have been anxiously waiting to get these winter seasons started,” MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens said. “By implementing these safety protocols recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and required by the Minnesota Department of Health, we have the best chance to provide safe seasons with reduced interruptions and also plan for full postseason experiences.”
The MDH updated youth sports document requires mask usage by all participants during practices and competitions with a few exceptions. Exceptions are made for those sports where wearing a mask may cause additional safety concerns and include gymnastics, cheerleading, wrestling and swimming and diving.
The League continues to work directly with the MDH and the Minnesota Department of Education in developing plans for our student-athletes to return safely to in-person participation.
“We are excited for the opportunity to start both practices and contests in this winter season,” Martens said. “The commitment to safety by our more than 500 member schools is critical to not only start our seasons, but to finish them as well.”
League Staff is engaged in reviewing the newest information and existing guidance documents and will provide updated sport-specific guidance by mid-week.