In alignment with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz decision to extend the remainder of the 2019-2020 Academic Year in Minnesota schools to fully online, the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) closely followed suit. The cancellation will effect all winter, spring, and summer sports and activities that would have had games/events before the COVID-19 Pandemic started. In a press release received by UTVS News the MSHSL states,
“Minnesota State High School League spring athletics and fine arts have been cancelled for the remainder of their seasons. This includes all participation in MSHSL events including, but not limited to, practices, tryouts, scrimmages, contests and competitions as well as postseason tournaments.”
The press release went on to say that included with this announcement all sports are out of season. The cancellations will apply to all forms of student activities outside of sports as well including but not limited to Music, Speech, and Visual Arts. In there press release Board Members noted how difficult this may be on students, but that they feel it is necessary to help Minnesota stay safe. MSHSL Executive Director Erich Martens said,
“This difficult decision was one we had hoped we would not need to make. Our activities and athletics offer so much to so many students and their school communities. Our work will continue in providing leadership and guidance for our member schools and will soon turn to the summer and planning for a return to participation this fall. At this time, everything we can do to slow the spread and impacts of COVID-19 will help
ensure the health of all, and will most certainly increase the chances that programming for students can return.”
In a statement to UTVS News Executive Director Martens said that he shares a special connection to the schools effected in the Greater Granite City as he live around the area. Current Activities Director for Edina High School and MSHSL Board Member Troy Stein shared his thoughts in the release as well.
“I can understand how heartbreaking the cancellation of the spring sports and activities season is for our students. Many of our students and families spend the entire year preparing for their season. Sports and activities are about so much more than the competitions and performances. They provide students with a sense of accomplishment, purpose and belonging. They also provide the community an opportunity to gather and rally around their school. Without that, I think it is fair to say we all feel a sense of loss.”
Like Martens, Stein shares a close connection to the Greater Granite City as he is an alumnus of ROCORI High School which is a consolidated school district in the cities of Rockville, Cold Spring, and Richmond and its surrounding areas. Lastly, Board President Bonnie Spohn Schmaltz said,
“As a parent of a high school senior, I understand the tremendous impact of this pandemic. As a speech coach, team members that I have coached since seventh grade won’t see their final season culminating with the opportunity at the state tournament, including my daughter. Knowing these costs, I’m proud of the sacrifices competitors and coaches throughout the state are making to keep others safe.”
The release went on to say that the MSHSL recommends that all students, coaches, advisors, officials, and administrators should follow the Stay At Home order and participate in general safety practices. It continued saying that the League fully supports Governor Tim Walz and the CDC’s efforts to keep everyone safe. In addition to this announcement on April 23rd, the League laid out requirements for coaches alongside Governor Walz’s extension of the stay at home order. The requirements were that coaches couldn’t require or suggest group gathering,s and they couldn’t suggest or support captain’s practice or open gyms. However they could connect with students on electronic communication, give optional workouts and training to students electronically, and conduct virtual end of season activities.