MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — As Minnesota high schools wait on a decision from the state about how the upcoming school year will look, so do high school sports.
”At this point, our youth opportunities exist in a camp format. We have a variety of skills camps that are being put on for baseball, boys basketball, girls basketball, football, a variety of sports, hockey is doing something too,” Mankato East Athletic Director Todd Waterbury said.
Summer skills camps across the state started out in pods of 10 or less while abiding by state health guidelines and have since evolved as state guidelines change.
The state of Washington pushed its fall high school sports back two weeks, with its football season scheduled to start Sept. 5 and all other sports on Sept. 7, one of many scenarios Minnesota will consider.
Another variable under consideration is which sports are low versus high risk. For example, tennis would be considered low risk because of minimal person-to-person contact. Football, on the other hand, is high risk.
“Trying to have some semblance of how to move forward in each of those scenarios just like the committees are doing and working with how they’re going to run the school day. We do the same thing within our conference and certainly Joe Johnson at [Mankato] West and myself here talk often about as a community how we would want to move forward too,” Waterbury added.
Ahead of the big decision, the Minnesota State High School League’s board of directors is set to meet Tuesday.
“I don’t know that you’re going to have definitive answers there yet, because their actions will depend on the actions of the MDE [Minnesota Department of Education],” Waterbury said.
As of now, summer skills camps are the focus and the programs that had their 2020 spring season taken away value being able to get out and continue their development.
“To be able to at least offer something, again in a safe environment, is important for not only our coaches and school community but for the community as a whole and the youth in our community to be able to have something be a part of again, something that is structured and safe,” Waterbury continued. ”It generates hope, it generates some enthusiasm and just some social awareness things that are all positive and important for us to do.”
And at practices, Waterbury says there's an increased focus on health and safety.
“We try to overstate it because I don’t think you can overstate it. I think you try to continue supplying the message and to keep the environment as safe as possible,” Waterbury said.