November 12, 2020 - Winter Sports Update


Winter Sports Update
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Jeanice Kerr Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools

The health and safety of our student-athletes and coaches continue as our highest priority.

We recognize and understand the many benefits of athletic endeavors for students and especially note:

  • The significance of sports for an adolescent’s mental and physical well-being, especially during a time of high stress and uncertainty.
  • The valuable learning and growth that occur in personal, interpersonal and team development and competition.
  • The fact that high school sports provide an instrumental, and in some cases, the only gateway for students to advance into a post-graduation academic opportunity.

Participation in indoor practices and competitions during a public health pandemic comes with a risk to the health and safety of those involved.

Currently, the risk is inherently higher than was experienced during the fall sports season because of the current escalating infection rates and community transmission across Washtenaw County and Michigan.

In addition, winter sports all occur indoors where airflow/ventilation and social distancing are more challenging to control. 

The following recommendation for winter sports recognizes these risks and the current rise in positive cases within the county and state.

AAPS Winter Sports Plan:

  • Delay the start of the winter sports season while we continue to monitor rising COVID infection rates in the county and across the state.
  • Work with Southeastern Conference (SEC) Superintendents and Athletic Directors to coordinate an abbreviated competition season starting in January 2021.

Conditional upon declining COVID infection rates to acceptable levels:

  • Athletic teams may work with coaches virtually to coordinate workout activities in preparation for the delayed season
  • Athletic teams will, dependent on rates of infection, begin limited (small-group) practices/training potentially in December during Phase 3 of the plan
  • Expand in-person practice/training sessions in January during Phase 4 of the plan
  • The competition season will be monitored and adjusted to align with the MHSAA dates for post-season tournaments

We are recommending a continued delay to the start of the winter sports season while we monitor the rising COVID-19 rates in the county and across the state.

More specifically, details of the proposed Winter Athletic plan include the following graduated activity phases and are subject to continued monitoring of rates of infection:

Phase 1 (November 1 - 11, 2020): Delay the start of all winter sports; outdoor training continues; virtual coaching/training continues/begin; update to the Board on November 11, 2020, including a recommendation to cancel MS Winter 1 sports season

Phase 2 (November 12 - 30, 2020): Monitor COVID-19 rates of infection and continue the delay the start of all winter sports; virtual coaching/training may continue/begin; begin discussions with SEC Superintendents and Athletic Directors about an abbreviated season to start in January 2021

Phase 3 (December 2020): Monitor COVID-19 rates; consider small-group, in-person practice/training sessions while continuing virtual coaching/training; continue discussions with SEC Superintendents and Athletic Directors about an abbreviated season beginning in January 2021; update to the Board on December 9, 2020

Phase 4 (January 1 - 17, 2021): Monitor COVID-19 rates; consider expanding in-person practice/training sessions while continuing virtual coaching/training; adjust competition schedules to align with the MHSAA dates for post-season tournaments; update to the Board on January 13, 2021

Phase 5 (January 19 - March 2021): Monitor COVID-19 rates; consider beginning in-person practices/training sessions and a conditional start of the competition season; regular updates to the Board (January 27, 2021 – TBD)