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KSHSAA survey will dictate school activities
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TOPEKA – After the Kansas State School Board of Education voted 5-5 to block Governor Laura Kelly’s executive order to not allow school to start until Sept. 8, the KSHSAA Executive Board will survey districts regarding the projected first day of school for respective districts. 

It is anticipated this survey, review, and determination will be completed early next week. Pending results of the survey, the KSHSAA Executive Board consider a possible modification to the start of the fall activity season. 

The initial fall practice date for Kansas schools is currently Aug. 17, 2020.

The 5-5 vote allows local school districts to decide what date to start their 2020-2021 school year.

During the meeting, the Executive Board approved a Remote Learning Policy which districts may choose to implement for the fall semester. This new policy is available via “Remote Learning Policy.”

Additionally, the Executive Board provided a final review of considerations for the resumption of fall activities. These considerations are available via “KSHSAA Return To Act - General” and are intended to support your efforts in planning for the resumption of school activities with the upcoming fall season.

Additionally, activity specific considerations are available via “Activity Specific Considerations.”

The following was a statement from the KSHSAA:

The physical and psychosocial benefits of education-based activity participation are numerous.

Students who participate in school activities learn life skills and lessons in an environment that cannot be duplicated.

The academic achievements, social and leadership skills, as well as overall mental health are known to be greatly enhanced in students who participate in a school activity compared to those who do not.

The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in thousands of Kansas students missing out on these life-shaping educational experiences over the past several months.

The risk of coronavirus transmission will still be present to some degree as school activities begin. Students and their families, along with school personnel must recognize these risks and implement best practices to reasonably mitigate these risks.

Participation in school activities is voluntary and every individual will need to evaluate the risk versus the benefits of activity participation. Those immunocompromised students and staff, or those who live with family members with elevated health concerns, should evaluate associated risks of participation and may choose not to participate.

The primary means of coronavirus transmission is through respiratory droplets.

Risk mitigation strategies should be aimed at reducing the likelihood of a person’s respiratory droplets coming into contact with another person. Every school and every activity are different. Certain mitigation strategies may be feasible in one school or for one activity, but not another.

It is recommended all schools identify a team to design, implement and oversee an infection risk mitigation strategy for their co-curricular activity program which may also include contact tracing strategies.

This group is responsible to disseminate the constantly changing information and continually consider how best to implement ALL reasonable risk mitigation strategies.

Schools must remain in consultation with their local health departments and medical personnel to review and evaluate strategies applicable to their unique facilities and activities. In support of preparing member schools for a return to interscholastic activity participation, the following coronavirus risk mitigation best practices are provided for consideration.