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FALSE START: MHSAA halts resumption of fall sports until rapid-result testing can commence at end of December

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, December 22, 2020, 6:28 pm

Then again, maybe we won’t … 

The on-again, off-again fall season is now on hold again, this time for administrative reasons, as the Michigan High School Athletic Association notified schools Tuesday evening to suspend practices until the bugs of the rapid testing pilot program can be ironed out.

Competition start dates — which were to begin as early as Jan. 2, with the resumption of the football postseason — will have to be moved back, as well. 

According to the MHSAA’s latest news release, schools with programs taking part in the pilot program are expected to receive rapid-result antigen tests and direction (via training webinars) from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on how to use them by Tuesday, Dec. 29. 

Once the first tests have been administered on Wednesday, Dec. 30, those fall teams can begin their practice schedules. If any programs are delayed in administering that first test, they may begin once test subjects have had one negative test result. 

The MHSAA will announce its altered postseason schedule on its website once it gets it hammered out. 

The fall sports have been on a roller coaster for the last four months, starting with what was expected to be a postponement to the spring, followed by a reversal of course, allowing a shortened fall regular season. All fall activities were halted on Nov. 18, when the MDHHS and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer moved the entire state into a ‘pause’ — which has now been extended for most sporting activities until Jan. 16. The remaining fall postseasons got somewhat of a reprieve last week, when the MHSAA and MDHHS worked out a compromise solution, which included rolling out the pilot program for rapid testing, but Monday’s restart of practices for those fall practices now appears to have been premature. 

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