MHSAA Current Status for 20-21 Sports
The MHSAA gives Holland Christian our specific guidance for sports for this unique 20-21 school year. On July 31, EO-160 severely limited the ability to play the sport of football and forced football to be postponed on August 14 to the spring after specific clearance was unable to be given during those two weeks. On August 20, aquatics, soccer and volleyball were instructed by the MHSAA to “stay the course” and remain outside for practices only. On September 3, EO-176 gave the necessary clearance to reinstate football and allow aquatics, soccer & volleyball to go indoors and compete. On September 9, EO-180 clarified that football, soccer and volleyball athletes must wear facial coverings at all times because they cannot consistently maintain a distance of 6 feet, while cross country, golf and tennis athletes can make a choice. Spectator expansion was outlined on September 30 with EO-183, but then governor orders were removed with the recent ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court on October 2. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued their own emergency orders on October 5 putting much of what was detailed on September 30 back in play and provides yet again new guidance from the MHSAA in regards to spectators. Please stay flexible with the many changes taking place as we increase spectator capacity at many of our venues. As members of the MHSAA and the OK Conference, we must accept the rules put forth for all member schools to be in compliance with each other for competitions. Both of these organizations also require enforcement of facial coverings for all spectators at all interscholastic events.
Aquatics, Cross Country, Golf and Tennis have specific safety protocols in place. Athletes can choose to wear a mask while actively participating in these sports because they can maintain a 6 foot distance, but must wear a mask on the sidelines or while not actively participating.
Football, Soccer and Volleyball also have specific safety protocols in place. Athletes must wear a mask at all times while participating in any capacity with these sports because they cannot maintain a 6 foot distance.
There are still many questions about the safety protocols for basketball. While the season has not yet started, at this point in time tentatively plan to follow the safety protocols in place similar to soccer and volleyball because athletes cannot maintain a 6 foot distance.
Each fall sport has a different number of spectators who may attend events based on the venue where they compete. Keep in mind the number of spectators may change for home games vs. away games. Please be respectful of opponent venues and restrictions with each one while they attempting to operate safely. While the number of spectators is changing, hand washing, distancing and mask wearing is not changing. All spectators must distance from those not in their immediate family and wear a facial covering. Failure to follow these protocols may result in stoppage of play.
MS/HS Cross Country, MS/HS Tennis & MS Soccer – The limitations of gatherings for these outdoor events is set at 1,000 spectators based on space. With the increased capacity, the 2 spectator / participant is lifted. Please be especially careful with distancing at these events so we can continue to enjoy the increase of spectators (ex. the cross country start/finish areas).
HS Aquatics & MS Football – The 2 issued spectator passes / participant must continue to be used. The total spectators using this system will put us at most pool spectator area limits. While most MS Football venues can easily increase the number of spectators, the MKO Conference has yet to lift the 2 passes / participant. Please be ready to pay an entrance fee with your pass for these sports.
MS/HS Volleyball – MS & Sub Varsity Volleyball spectators need to continue using their 2 issued spectator passes / participant. For sub varsity volleyball (9th & JV), spectators will be communicated with about events increased to 4 spectators allowed and can stay for the varsity game if they choose to. Varsity Volleyball participants will be given an additional 2 spectator passes bringing the total up to 4 spectator passes per varsity participant. This is a common system for the remaining OK Blue events, but please be respectful of tris and quads where spectators may be limited back to 2 passes / participant.
Sub Varsity Football & HS Soccer – With almost all venues left for this season able to hold close to 1,000 spectators, passes will generally not be used for entrance. Please be ready to pay an entrance fee. There may be upcoming varsity soccer games where player families will be asked to pre-purchase tickets before tickets will be available for the general public. Otherwise, spectators can pay at the event.
Varsity Football – The 2 issued spectator passes will no longer be used for varsity football. For the remaining away games, each participant will be given a number of 1-use tickets that can be used to gain entrance. For example, Holland Christian has been issued 250 tickets for our game at West Catholic on 10/9. For our home game on 10/16 vs. Spring Lake, Holland Christian will issue 250 tickets to participants, pre-sell 500 additional tickets out of the office beginning 10/13 and place any remaining tickets at the gate on 10/16. Tickets are $5 each.
Holland Christian plans to stream as many events as possible. Please see the linked blog post for Holland Christian and OK Blue steaming options (www.hollandchristian.org/hc-live-streaming-options).
The MHSAA recognizes the importance of the athletic experience for students and is making every effort to maintain seasons and increase spectators when possible. Their patience, transparency and avoidance of postponing seasons are examples of this. Holland Christian views these athletic opportunities as a way to educate the whole student and seeks to do so in an environment that is safe as well. These things are not always true in non-school sport programs that will certainly be available if school sports were not. As much as athletics have never been risk free, the MHSAA is actively mitigating physical risks to the best of their ability, but considering the mental health risks of athletes as well. Thank you for your support and partnership… especially now… as we still seek to influence our sports culture for Christ. Please do all you can to stay flexible, positive and respectful at our opponents facilities in addition to our own as we move forward together. While not every detail is known about how to fight the virus most effectively, hygiene, mask and distancing practices give us the best potential chance to move forward with school sports for our athletes. We all have a role to play in mitigating the associated risks, but know God’s faithfulness and his future presence is with us as we move “through it” (Isaiah 43:2) together. Go Maroons.