KDE seeks more information from KHSAA regarding fall sports
As fall sports in Kentucky move closer to reality, the Kentucky Board of Education (KDE) and the Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) appear to still be in discussion as to how and when best to proceed.
The KHSAA Board of Control voted at its August 20 meeting to move forward with fall sports competition, which is set to begin next week. On August 24, the Kentucky Board of Education met to discuss that plan and heard from KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, as well as Kentucky Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, and some school superintendents. At the meeting KDE officials voted unanimously to send the KHSAA Board of Control a letter asking the organization to consider other options and offer greater guidance and clarification to schools, especially as it relates to high-contact fall sports (football). One of the potentially most significant requests from the KDE is for the KHSAA to develop testing protocols for all student-athletes and coaches.
That letter was sent Monday by KDE Board Chair Lu Young.
The Kentucky Board of Education wants the Kentucky High School Athletic Association to provide more information on how schools should handle COVID-19 issues, according to a statement from the Kentucky Department of Education.
In the letter, the KBE urges the Board of Control to meet immediately and consider actions to:
• Develop new guidance for school districts on the responsibility and authority to enforce the protocols set forth in the recent KHSAA guidance document.
• Anticipate and clarify how KHSAA guidance is likely to evolve and put forth clear and actionable guidance on how KHSAA will respond to a spike in cases at the school, district, regional and/or statewide level.
• Provide immediate guidance to school districts and coaches on spectator attendance at practice and competition.
• Develop clear guidance to school districts and coaches on how to best provide resources and mental health supports to student athletes who are unable to play due to parent choice, COVID-19 quarantine, program suspension due to COVID-19 or other reasons.
• Require that the risks of COVID-19 are disclosed to families and students in a manner that is easily understood, along with recommended steps for student “return to sports” following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
• Take steps, including but not limited to instructing KHSAA to work with KDE and the Department for Public Health, to develop model COVID-19 testing protocols for student-athletes and coaches that could be replicated across the state.
• Adopt a regular reporting schedule for the Board of Control and the KBE/KDE to receive written reports, not less than bi-weekly, from the KHSAA that summarizes COVID-related issues KHSAA is dealing with (by sport, district and school) and how concerns are addressed as they arise.
At the posting of this story, the KHSAA has not yet responded to the letter.