The Utah High School Activities Association’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday to move forward with the 2020 fall sports season as scheduled, though those plans are contingent upon the evolving conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a UHSAA press release, local school districts can work with their local government and health departments to determine whether participating in the upcoming fall sports and activity season can happen under current local and state guidelines. The UHSAA board plans to meet again in late July to discuss more guidelines for the upcoming season.
Under the current “yellow phase,” crowds will be limited to no more than 6,000 spectators for outdoor events and 3,000 spectators for indoor events, with social distancing measures in place when practical and face coverings required when social distancing is not possible. Practices will be limited to no more than 50 athletes at a time, and all athletes will have their temperature checked before games — visiting teams before they board the bus and home teams before they enter the locker room. There will only be up to 50 players allowed on the sidelines during football games, and no more than 25 players for other sports.
In Utah, the fall sports season includes football, boys golf, girls tennis, girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross-country and Class 1A baseball.
However, the season may still be in jeopardy. When the spring season was canceled, the UHSAA announced that the fall season would only take place if all of Utah’s counties were in “yellow” or “green” status on the state’s color-coded scale. That was the case as of late Monday night, though Salt Lake City was still in “orange” status, and its schools are thus unable to conduct offseason practices. It remains uncertain when those teams will be able to practice or play games.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert also announced that there is a possibility that the whole state could return to “orange” status if the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases does not drop below 500 cases per day by Aug. 1. As of Monday night, the average number of cases per day over the past week was 656. If the state goes into “orange” status, sporting activities that require participants to be less than 10 feet apart will not be allowed.