The start of Season B sports has been delayed, following communication between the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Colorado High School Activities Association late Sunday night.
This change also affects the planned start of Seasons C and D, which have also been delayed.
In a letter sent to CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green, CDPHE indicated that Season B would not be permitted to begin on Jan. 4, as had been scheduled on the CHSAA 2020-21 sports calendar. CDPHE further said that no variances will be given to CHSAA sports at this time.
In the letter, Jill Hunsaker Rye, Executive Director of the CDPHE wrote:
The COVID-19 pandemic has reached an all time high in terms of disease transmission both in Colorado and around the nation. The Colorado School of Public Health estimates that 1 in 40 Coloradans are currently infectious. Hospital admissions are steadily increasing, and the past six weeks have produced a significant increase in the number of deaths statewide. With the Thanksgiving holiday just behind us and the impending December holiday festivities, we are very concerned that the rate of transmission will continue to increase.
At this time, we do not have enough information about what disease incidence and hospitalization capacity will look like in January, and therefore are unable to make a determination regarding indoor high school athletics in Season B. Season B high school sports would operate based on the restrictions in the level of the Dial in the county in which the school resides. For counties in Level Red, this means no indoor group sports are authorized.
In addition, our top goal for the new year is to support a return to in-person learning. Season B sports are conducted mainly indoors during the colder months, which reduces the ability to assure social distancing. This in turn may further promote disease transmission at a time when we need to ensure that students and teachers are protected and that in-person learning is the highest priority.
We welcome an ongoing conversation regarding the indoor requests at a future date as more schools safely open their indoor facilities for students.
As a result, CHSAA is proposing a Feb. 1 start date for Season B. CHSAA, CDPHE and Gov. Jared Polis’ COVID Response Team, plan to meet again mid-January to continue the discussion around variances for Season B, and reassess COVID-19 data at that time. Variances will not be considered prior to that date.
Specifics for each sport will be communicated upon variance approval from the CDPHE.
The county health department and school districts will determine open gym policies, per state guidance.