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What's planned for student athletics in the fall

Posted at 6:27 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 19:28:49-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Schools are trying to determine how high school athletes will compete this fall. Today, the Nebraska Schools Activities Association (NSAA) held a board of directors meeting focused on just that.

Right now, all high schools across Nebraska are allowed to begin practicing for fall sports next week but it is anything but a normal year.

"At some point in your season, you're going to lose a kid,” said NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar. “If not maybe the team for a week or two and we hope that doesn't happen but we know that it probably will."

No school district or high school has come out and said they're not starting sports next week but Omaha Northwest Principal Thomas Lee said, in the board of directors meeting, many metro class A schools are bracing to not start next week.

"You're not going to see a lot of those schools starting until August 31st, or later," Lee said.

Some of the smaller metro-area schools, like Omaha Skutt and Douglas County West, are planning to start next week.

"Due to the size of Douglas County West, we have the ability to make a different choice,” said Ahtletics Director Nathan Ter Beest. “We're not educating 54,000 kids through the district, we've got about 1,000."

There's still a whole lot that needs to be figured out by each individual school district. This includes: mask requirements for fans and coaches, how many fans to allow in, how to transport students to the game, how to manage water breaks and how all that the changes when playing an indoor sport like volleyball.

"I feel pretty confident that outdoor activities are going to be fine,” said Bancroft-Rosalie Superintendent Jon Cerny. “I'm just really concerned about the indoor ones."

One concern for Cerny is the volleyball athletes being too close to the fans during matches.

"I don't want to send my kids into an environment at another school, where they're not taking serious precautions," he said.

While so many things such as volleyball issues are still being sorted out, practices are likely to go on next week, with a few COVID-related changes, all with the hopes that the student-athletes get something of a fall season in 2020.

"It would break my heart again if we're not able to see these kids compete for their school, that's just tough and we don't want to see that but we've got to keep kids safe as well" said Skutt Catholic High School Athletics Director Donn Kasner.

If schools like Benson, Omaha Northwest or whomever else do decide to cancel a game for a COVID-19-related reason, it wouldn’t count as a forfeit. Instead, they would look to possibly reschedule the game later in the year and possibly expand the playoffs, allowing any team in that wants in.