State approves CHSAA variances for outdoor sports, says no to indoor activities

The State of Colorado has answered the Colorado High School Activities Associations variance requests from July 8th, which were resubmitted last week.

In the response, the state has approved the outdoor activities of field hockey, football, and cheer/dance with some restrictions in place. Indoor activities such as volleyball were not approved, but the state will revisit those activities as more school districts resume a more normal routine in classrooms.

The decision now goes back to CHSAA and the Board of Directors to discuss how to move forward.

You can see a full copy of the letter sent to CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blandford-Green below:

Dear Commissioner Blanford-Green,

Thank you for your September 12, 2020 request to Governor Polis to allow certain high school sports to be played under the auspices of the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA). Your request included all of the following:

● 25 players per roster for field hockey, or a total of 50 players on or around any field of
play;
● 50 players per roster for football, or a total of 100 players on or around any field of play;
● 28 participants per roster for cheer/dance, or a total of 56 participants on or around any
area of competition;
● A request for increased spectators, participants, and to be exempt from the mask order
for volleyball; and
● A request for increased spectators and to be exempt from the mask order for
gymnastics.

At this time, we are fast tracking and responding to your requests for outdoor events and not requests for sports that are conducted indoors. We welcome an ongoing conversation to review any indoor requests at a future date as more schools safely open their indoor facilities for students.

As for your requests for field hockey, football, and cheer/dance, we are approving these proposed roster sizes, pending all plans conform with the requirements below. These roster sizes are already allowed without any clarification from the state in any county that has achieved Protect Our Neighbors, but exceed the maximum of 50 total players in Level 1, or 25 total
players in Level 2.

However, we recognize that these are inherently school-based activities, and schools are at different stages of re-opening based on local decisions. If CHSAA would like to make an option available to schools to play football, field hockey, and cheer/dance in season A with these increased roster sizes, they may do so for any county that is in Protect Our Neighbors, Level 1, and Level 2, which currenty includes every county in the state as of the date
of this letter, pending they follow all of the guidelines in:

● The State’s Organized Sports Guidance;
● CHSAA’s all-sports COVID-19 Guidelines; and
● CHSAA protocols for these sports, per your submission on September 12.

In addition to these guidelines, we are also requiring that:

● All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must wear
masks while not actively playing or performing
● All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must be 6
feet apart from non-household members on the sidelines or while not in active play.
● All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must stay
in their designated areas off the field of play, and may not go into spectator areas.
● All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others must wear
masks and observe social distancing during transportation.
● Roster limitations established by CHSAA must not be exceeded.
● Cheer/Dance participants must follow the requirements laid out in other guidelines for performers and be at least 25 feet away from spectators and players at all times.

Finally, it is critical that all school-based sports follow the same guidelines for school settings for reporting of cases and outbreak protocols. You can find these guidelines here. It is mandatory
that these standards are implemented for high school all sports.

We understand that these sports may also be played in the C season. If you choose to allow these sports in season A, we encourage you to make sure your members know that both
options are available, based on what is best for their return-to-learn plans and facilities.

If any community enters Level 3 in the Safer at Home Public Health Order 20-35, this approval will be re-evaluated for that community.

Sincerely,
Ann Hause
Director, Office of Legal and Regulatory Compliance
cc: Rick Palacio, Interim Chief of Staff
Kacey Wulff, Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response, Resiliency and Recover

Caleb Burggraaf