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Back to school plans released, sports plans to come next

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Dickinson High volleyball is one team whose season may or may not be impacted this fall by the COVID-19 pandemic. (File Image / The Dickinson Press)

The North Dakota High School Activities Association Board of Directors have the final say about sports this fall, and they will meet for the first time on Thursday morning since Gov. Doug Burgum and State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler announced the state’s back to school plan.

Individual school system's will have a lot of local control as to how classrooms will look this fall, and that has an effect on athletics across the whole state.

Dickinson High Schools activities director, Guy Fridley, is on the board and tomorrow is his first meeting as a board member.

He said that local control makes it tricky, because every school system will have a different plan.

“(Thursday morning) at the boarding meeting, we may get some guidance or a little clearer picture. The high school activities association in the past has always thought things out very well and doesn’t make a decision at their first meeting,” Fridley said. “What Dickinson may do may be a little bit different than what Fargo and Minot do… It will be a lot of time working on the phone and visiting with other AD’s across the state to formulate a plan if not all of our plans align.”

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Numerous states across the country have put high school sports on hold this fall with postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic and New Mexico has even decided to not play contact sports in the fall.

Fridley isn’t sure what will happen, but he expects a decision to be made in the coming weeks.

“It is going to play out in the next week what that will look like and if there will be a pause button hit for a couple weeks,” he said. “They may do like the NAIA in football and cut the non-conference games and start after Labor Day.”

He emphasizes that the board of directors has done an awesome job in the past pertaining to the health and safety of all the athletes involved.

It will be a balancing act trying to get kids back to a resemblance of a normal lifestyle while making sure the pandemic does not spread.

Sports like cross country and non-contact sports will be easier to take place, and the main question is will football and contact sports be able to be played safely?

“I think that is a legitimate concern in contact sports vs. non-contact sports. You are looking at football and soccer compared to golf and tennis,” Fridley said. “They are two different ways of playing games. In tennis, you are touching the ball and you are not having face-to-face or body-to-body contact. Everything will be on the table I would think.”

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