Update on Winter Sports and Co-Curriculars

Update on Winter Sports and Co-Curriculars
Posted on 11/16/2020

As we continue to phase in our Virtual Plus model at the high school level, which includes targeted academic/curricular supports offered to students on-site during the school day, we will also continue to provide co-curricular opportunities for our students that are optional and take place outside of the school day.

This will include the opportunity for our high school students to be able to take part in the upcoming (modified) winter sports season. This will provide our students at the high school level the opportunity to engage in co-curricular activities that support their social, emotional, and physical needs.

Our focus will remain on carefully following all of our mitigation strategies that lower the risks involved with gathering in person. These strategies include following a screening process, mask-wearing, physical distancing whenever possible, and disinfection protocols. They also include following all WIAA guidance for safety protocols specific to each sport.

Moving forward, information about these academic and co-curricular opportunities will be shared by administrators at the high schools. It is important to note that these plans may be altered/changed at any time based upon additional health information and/or recommendations from our health advisors, including our AASD school nurses.

Benefits of Winter Co-Curriculars and Education-Based Athletics

  • Over the course of the school year, over 50% of our students take part in education-based athletics that provide structure, discipline, confidence, and grit to support their emotional, social, and mental growth.
  • Co-curricular coaches and advisors partner with classroom educators to provide systems of accountability, moral support, and encouragement to our students in their academic efforts.   
  • Winter sports and other co-curricular offerings during the winter season are optional and take place outside of the school day.
  • Winter sports and other co-curricular offerings during the winter season serve as the X factor for many students and allows students to pursue their passion in a controlled environment. 
  • If school-sponsored athletic programs aren’t offered by AASD, many students will still take part in a similar club program, but there will also be many students who cannot because of the cost to join a club team. The school district has no control over these non-school sponsored activities.
  • Winter sports and other co-curricular offerings during the winter season serve as part of the optional Virtual Plus opportunities offered at the high school level.
  • This is one way we are safely supporting students’ successes, mental health, and social-emotional well-being.
  • Winter sports serve as a motivator for many students to stay engaged in their academic coursework. To be eligible, student-athletes must maintain regular attendance and pass all classes.  If students are not meeting all code of conduct requirements, they will not be eligible.
  • Co-curricular opportunities provided during the winter season can provide optimism and hope, along with a small sense of normalcy for students who choose to take part.
  • Spectators will not be allowed at co-curricular events. Instead, we will seek other ways to allow family members and friends to watch the events, including possible live streaming opportunities.
  • Winter sports traditionally have the lowest number of participating students out of the three sports seasons. This number is usually about 10 to 12% of the total student population. There are only 5 winter sports offered compared to 9 fall sports and 7 spring sports.

    Safety Strategies

  • Consistent check-in process when students arrive.
  • Required daily screenings.
  • Required request for time slots. We are only permitting prescheduled student-athletes at the designated times.
  • Mask wearing is required for all staff and students. (Exceptions may include: pool use and outside activity).
  • Physical distancing whenever possible.
  • Use of cleaning protocols. (There will be a mandatory time of 10-30 minutes of cleaning, in addition to cleaning each time a new athlete is using a piece of equipment, as well as a 5 minute clear out period to prep for the next group coming in.)
  • Facility entry and exit points will be coordinated to minimize personal interaction and facilitate social distancing.
  • Locker rooms will not be available. Restrooms will be available on a limited basis as necessary and one-in-one-out at a time.
  • Following all WIAA guidance for safety protocols specific to each sport.
  • Layering in additional sports each week.
  • All students will report to activities with all necessary supplies/gear and immediately return home.  Students may not linger after the completion of their activity.
  • Plans may be altered/changed at any time based upon additional health information and/or recommendations from our health advisors, including our AASD school nurses.
  • Athletics Directors/Coaches have shown they can provide a safe and controlled environment for students and athletes to practice and work out.

The entire FVA Conference has adopted common agreements that will be required during the entire winter season. They include:

  • Each school is required to have its own pre-event screening of its own team, coaches, and workers. 
  • The host site will make a "changing area" available for visiting teams and officials. Showers will NOT be available with the exception of Wrestling.
  • Team bench areas should be set up for social distancing by the host site, and are not to be altered by either team (see right photo).
  • Varsity should travel on a different bus than lower levels, so teams can leave immediately after their game, if possible.
  • Live streams are expected for at least varsity contests (Swim, Basketball, and Wrestling).
  • Facial Coverings/masks will be required for all coaches, officials, workers, athletes, and spectators.

VIRTUAL PLUS GUIDELINES HIGH SCHOOLS Co-Curricular OVERVIEW November 2020

These guidelines are based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). These guidelines were designed to help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19 for all students, coaches, and staff and will be updated as additional information becomes available. 

The information is a collective effort by the CDC, NFHS, Licensed Athletic Trainers, and City of Appleton Health Agencies and AASD. Local conditions will influence the decisions made by public health officials regarding community-level strategies. It is vital to the health and safety of everyone that our students and staff are fully aware of these guidelines and take this responsibility seriously.