KSHSAA hoping to move forward with some form of several summer activities

Free State volleyball players compete in a summer camp at FSHS on June 7, 2019.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association continues to work toward hosting many of its regular summer activities for high school students but does not yet know how or what that might look like.

“The biggest question on everyone’s mind, spoken or unspoken, is when do we get to get back to normal, what are we going to be able to do and when,” KSHSAA executive director Bill Faflick told the Journal-World on Monday afternoon. “I wish I had a crystal ball, but the biggest challenge we have is the unknown of time.”

Following the lead of state and local governments, Faflick said KSHSAA’s goal was to get students competing and representing their schools again as soon as possible. He also said KSHSAA had been paying attention to movement and plans put in place at the college and professional ranks.

According to Faflick, the deadline for a decision on several summer activities will arrive during the first week of May, following a board of directors meeting on Friday.

That timeline coincides with the May 3 date that state officials have pinpointed as the right time to begin easing up on some of the restrictions of the current stay-at-home order. But Faflick said KSHSAA was not planning to simply go full speed ahead when the calendar changes.

“I kind of look at it more as a dial out of this,” he said. “There’s not a switch that we flip where it’s, ‘Oh, good; we’re back to normal.’ But there’s a dial that turns that allows us to begin to have some of those face-to-face opportunities that have been lost in very small groups.”

From there, he said, the groups and opportunities could grow provided everyone continues to follow guidelines and put safety first.

Included on KSHSAA’s list of summer activities are various team camps, conditioning sessions, spirit squad camps, team-building opportunities and leadership development sessions that take place in university settings.

“Summer is huge for our schools,” Faflick said. “While it’s a little more informal than your regular season, it’s still an important time and it’s a time that our schools use quite effectively. So we’re anxious, but we’re also trying to be patient.”

While the hope is for high school students across the state to be able to participate in some form of their normal summer routine, Faflick said the fall semester remained too far in the future for anything concrete to be decided about the fall sports seasons.

“The challenge there is, what are schools going to look like in the fall,” he said.

As examples, Faflick asked if high schools across the state would have full attendance, observe social distancing practices or adhere to a maximum class size order. He also said the future of physical education and weights and conditioning classes was uncertain.

“We think we have some good solutions to a variety of scenarios,” Faflick said. “And, with every decision we make, the first filter is always student safety.”

Faflick said most of those solutions have come from internal dialogue among members of the KSHSAA staff. He also said the association has been in contact with school administrators across the state and receives regular guidance from officials at the National Federation of State High School Associations.

“One of the things we’ll always do is to make decisions that are for an educationally based activity program,” he said. “Our goal isn’t to make money. Our goal is to provide educational opportunities for kids.”

Well-informed decisions and proper guidelines will go a long way toward getting back to a system that students, coaches and parents recognize, he said.

“It’s not going to be a one-size-fits-all response, because parts of Kansas are much, much different than other parts of Kansas,” he said. “But if we all do our part then we’re going to be back at it sooner rather than later.”

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