Kentucky Board of Education urging KHSAA to expand COVID-19 guidelines

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Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 10:44 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Kentucky Board of Education Chair Lu Young has sent a letter to the KHSAA Board of Control urging the board to meet and consider expanding COVID-19 guidance for student-athletes.

The letter comes just days after the KBE held a special meeting regarding the fall sports season on August 28. During the meeting, the board heard from KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack, and several superintendents about restarting fall sports, including high-contact sports. The KBE voted unanimously to send the KHSAA Board of Control a letter urging them to consider alternative options, guidance, and further clarification on holding high-contact fall sports amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In the letter, the KBE urges the Board of Control to meet immediately and consider actions to:

  • Develop new guidance for school districts on the responsibility and authority to enforce the protocols set forth in the recent KSHAA guidance document.
  • Anticipate and clarify how KHSAA guidance is likely to evolve and put forth clear and actionable guidance on how KHSAA will respond to a spike in cases at the school, district, regional, and/or statewide level.
  • Provide immediate guidance to school districts and coaches on spectator attendance at practice and competition.
  • Develop clear guidance to school districts and coaches on how to best provide resources and mental health supports to student-athletes who are unable to play due to parent choice, COVID-19 quarantine, program suspension due to COVID-19, or other reasons.
  • Require that the risks of COVID-19 are disclosed to families and students in a manner that is easily understood, along with recommended steps for student “return to sports” following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
  • Take steps, including but not limited to instructing KHSAA to work with KDE and the Department for Public Health, to develop model COVID-19 testing protocols for student-athletes and coaches that could be replicated across the state.
  • Adopt a regular reporting schedule for the Board of Control and the KBE/KDE to receive written reports, not less than bi-weekly, from the KHSAA that summarizes COVID-related issues KHSAA is dealing with (by sport, district, and school) and how concerns are addressed as they arise.

The KHSAA is an agent of the KBE and manages interscholastic athletics.

The KHSAA Board of Control voted to go ahead with fall sports back on August 20. Practices for fall sports began on August 24 and competition is slated to begin on September 7. High school football will kick off its season on September 11.

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