KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The schools belonging to the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference have voted unanimously to continue on with fall sports and activities despite suggestions from many local health departments.
In a release from the conference, Raytown Schools superintendent and GKCSC directors board president Dr. Alan Markley said the districts worked hard to develop guidelines that would keep students and fans safe.
“Our member schools have worked hard to implement health and safety protocols to keep our students, staff, and fans safe during practices and competitions," Markley said. "From cleaning equipment to precautions associated with safe hydration, to transporting students to and from contests, our schools are considering all factors to safely navigate this important part of our student experience.”
The conference is made up of many of the largest district on the Missouri side of the state line, stretch from Platte County, Smithville and Liberty in the north, Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit in the east and as far south as Belton and Grandview. In total, 27 high schools are involved in four divisions.
In addition enhanced sanitation, there will be many other changes the teams will see in order to get fall sports back in play.
The different programs are being advised to not have pre-season "jamboree" style scrimmages with multiple schools involved for team sports like football, softball, volleyball and boys soccer.
The schools will follow local health department guidelines for players testing positive for COVID-19, including contact tracing and quarantine for players and teams if needed. Some sports deemed low-risk, including golf, cross country and swimming, may not have to follow under the suspension plans.
For all sports other than football, the league is suggesting games canceled due to an outbreak to be rescheduled, with conference games taking precedent over non-conference and divisional games taking precedent over non-divisional games.
Masks will be required at all indoor events, including volleyball competitions. They will be recommended for outdoor events where people cannot socially distance and are not engaged in strenuous physical activity.
Teams traveling to play will need to come ready to go on the field since there will not be visitor locker room access, though there will be restroom access.
It will be up to local school district to determine if bands can participate at events. The districts will also determine media access for events, and there will be no handshaking after match-ups.
There will also be limits on spectators, with host schools working with health officials to determine home audience policies while visiting schools are limited to two tickets per participant from the school. That participant number will come from the players (up to 60) on the sideline, coaches and dance and cheer teams.
Conference leaders are suggesting teams travel and practice in small groups, which gives teams at different levels like varsity and junior varsity a chance to compete even if one of the other teams at the school is suspended due to coronavirus.