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MHSAA gives schools heads up that ‘Guidance for Opening School Sports’ is coming next week

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, May 22, 2020, 2:32 pm

Michigan high schools might finally be getting some clarity on what’s to come this summer, on the athletics front.

The Michigan High School Athletic Association sent out an email to athletic directors Friday, letting them know they’d be receiving some guidance in the next week, as the state begins to open up from its lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Once more definite details are available next week — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has stated she may extend the current stay-at-home order which is set to expire on May 28 — the state will send out its “MHSAA Guidance for Opening School Sports,” the email said.

MLive’s Jared Purcell reported the story first.

The design of the plan was a “collaborative effort between the MHSAA, National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the MHSAA and NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory committees which both include physicians, other medical professionals and school administrators.”

Gov. Whitmer announced Thursday that small gatherings of 10 or fewer people would be allowed, and retail stores and car dealerships could re-open for customers on an appointment basis, but not much has changed in weeks in terms of when schools might be allowed to re-open for summer sporting activities.

All sports activities have been idle since March 12, and the MHSAA officially canceled all spring sports and winter postseasons on April 3.

The NFHS sent guidance to its member institutions earlier in the week with a phased plan for reintroducing athletic competition, but left it up to each individual state association to work out the timing for re-opening, in accord with their state government’s regulations. 

Friday’s email, sent from executive director Mark Uyl, cautioned however that — as has been learned the hard way through this whole process — everything is fluid, and things change quickly. 

Here is the email in its entirety: 

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Dear MHSAA Community,

The MHSAA hopes this email finds you and your family healthy and safe.

Next week, the MHSAA will be providing a comprehensive update that will include further guidance from state government and health department officials, along with the document “MHSAA Guidance for Opening School Sports” that will assist schools with procedures and protocols as we transition into summer activity when permitted by Governor Whitmer. This guidance document has been a collaborative effort between the MHSAA, National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the MHSAA and NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory committees which both include physicians, other medical professionals and school administrators. We hope more definite details will be available next week with the current state of emergency order set to expire on May 28 which may or may not be extended. The one thing we have learned over the past nine weeks is this continues to be a fluid situation, and we simply wanted to alert you that further details and the guidance document will be coming to you by May 29.

We wish you and your family a safe Memorial Day weekend. The MHSAA will be connecting with you again next week.

Thank you.

Mark Uyl

MHSAA Executive Director