Current Status for 20-21 Sports
(Updated May 6)
The MHSAA gives Holland Christian our specific guidance from MDHHS orders for athletics for this unique 20-21 school year. We experienced numerous protocol changes for fall athletes stemming from EO-160 on July 31 through EO-180 on September 9. The winter was no different with orders delaying the start of most winter sports from November 15 to February 8. Spring sports began on March 22 under “Gatherings and Face Mask Orders” issued on March 19, April 19 and May 4, which now ends on May 31. Below is a summary applying to Holland Christian athletics. As members of the MHSAA and the OK/MKO Conferences, spectators, coaches and athletes must accept the rules put forth for all member schools to be in compliance with the MDHHS and each other to compete interscholastically.
Collectively, there are things we need to be doing to keep our spring programs playing. Current communication warns about spread from social activities that athletes participate in outside of the practices and events associated with their teams including team meals and get togethers. These activities need careful planning. It is paramount that all athletes are screened before coming to school or events, encouraged to stay home if sick and are diligent with hand washing. Stay home if you have COVID symptoms. Our mitigation efforts will not eliminate risk, but reducing risk by gathering appropriately, wearing masks and distancing will give athletes the best chance to continue playing in our current environment of increasing case counts.
The spring spectator limitations found in the order are significantly higher than typical attendance for our spring sports (50% of capacity up to 1,000 for outdoor facilities). Thus, there is currently no limit the number of spring spectators per participant for MS and HS athletics. Our facilities and opponent facilities have enough space for spectators to find places to distance while in attendance. Spectator face masks at outdoor events are optional when there are 100 or less spectators in attendance. Please partner with the host school by using your judgement on whether you are part of a group over the 100 spectator threshold and need to collectively put a mask on. MS events will not have a gate charge this spring. Fruitport, Holland Christian, Spring Lake, Unity Christian and West Catholic are the five OK Blue high schools that spectators can expect to pay a gate fee of $5 (for girls soccer, boys lacrosse and track & field). Please respect all protocols at any facility where we have the privilege to compete.
Face masks for athletes and coaches continue to be mandatory at all times for the indoor sport of boys volleyball and for the contact sports of girls soccer and boys & girls lacrosse. Face masks are also required for outside non-contact sports (track & field, golf, tennis, baseball and softball) when athletes are arriving/departing, not actively playing, on the sideline, in the locker room… But, outside non-contact athletes can remove their mask during “active participation” because being inside of 6 feet is “fleeting” during play of non-contact sports. Distancing is encouraged whenever possible. Each sport has sport specific protocols that will be communicated directly from coaches.
Spring sport athletes (ages 13-19) must participate in the MDHHS rapid testing program. This program involves a single rapid antigen test each week for athletes to be eligible to practice and compete with their team. Holland Christian is testing at both the high school gym and the middle school gym on Monday mornings before school starting at 7:30am. Please arrive at school as close to 7:30am as possible to get testing completed. We will work with students who cannot arrive early to school. If a student misses Monday morning testing, they need to wait in the MS or HS office to be tested by a certified individual the next time they are at school before attending class, practice or an event. Be sure to take advantage of the free breakfast offered daily at the high school before or after testing. The MS sport participants being tested at the MS gym are: track & field, girls soccer, boys tennis, boys 7/8 lacrosse club, city rec. softball, city rec. baseball and sailing. The HS sport participants being tested at the HS gym are track & field, girls soccer, girls tennis, softball, girls lacrosse, boys lacrosse, boys volleyball, baseball, boys golf and sailing. Cooperative agreement students enrolled in other schools need to participate in testing at their school of enrollment. All Holland Christian MS & HS athletes need to test before school at 7:30am on 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17 & 5/24. Varsity athletes may need to continue testing on 6/1, 6/7 & 6/14 if their team has events scheduled during those weeks.
There are now three categories of student-athletes who do NOT need to complete the testing requirement to be eligible to play.
1. Students who are not yet 13. If a student-athlete turns 13 during the spring season, they need to begin testing after their 13th birthday. This will apply to some 7th graders and most 6th graders.
2. Students who had a positive diagnostic COVID-19 test (either antigen or PCR) within 3 months and it was officially documented and reported to Holland Christian. If the 3 month window of time from the positive test date expires during the season, the student needs to begin testing at that time.
3. Students who are fully vaccinated (2 weeks after the final dose). Please send a copy of the student vaccination card directly to Mr. Stephenson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*Students with a recent positive test are already documented with the testing program, but vaccinated students need to confirm their vaccination completion with Mrs. Stephenson.
*Students who test positive for antibodies, but not a positive COVID test, still need to participate in the testing program.
The Abbott BinaxNOW antigen rapid test is completed by the student with a simple noninvasive self swap less than an inch into the nostril. The test takes less than a minute, but test results cannot be read for 15 minutes. Athletes will leave the testing area before the result can be read. Athletes who test positive will be isolated immediately and encouraged to obtain a PCR test within 48 hours to confirm. If confirmed, the athlete is considered infectious and must isolate for 10 days from the antigen test date (or current CDC guidance). Contact tracing from a positive antigen test is from 48 hours prior, which will be from Saturday/Sunday if students test on Monday morning.
*Students with a positive antigen test who then test negative on a PCR test are not considered a positive COVID case and can return to full eligibility immediately (including continued testing).
The MHSAA recognizes the importance of the athletic experience for students and is making every effort to maintain and complete all seasons. As much as athletics have never been risk free, the MHSAA is a collective group of over one thousand schools actively mitigating physical risks to the best of their ability while considering the mental health risks of athletes as well. Thank you for your support and partnership as Holland Christian seeks to influence our sports culture for Christ. Our collective actions put God on display as we spectate, practice and compete. Please do your part to stay flexible, positive and respectful at our opponent facilities in addition to our own as we move forward together. We all have a role to play in mitigating the associated risks, but we know God’s faithfulness and his future presence is with us as we move “through it” (Isaiah 43:2) together. Go Maroons.