DENVER (KDVR) — Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that the state has conditionally approved a variance to allow high school football, cheer, dance and field hockey to be played this fall.
On Friday, Polis said he was working with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) to approve variances for football and other fall sports that had been postponed to the spring.
The announcement came after high school athletes and their parents protested, demanding CHSAA move the football season back to the fall. Earlier last week, the organization announced there would be no changes to the sports calendar it released in August. Under that calendar, high school football games would have been played in the spring.
On Wednesday, Polis said the state has been working closely with CHSAA to approve the changes.
“If the CHSAA board decides to add these sports to their fall calendars, it will be up to local school districts, administrators and parents to choose what is right for their communities. The state has approved these requests in order to empower all schools to make the choice that is right for them and their student athletes,” the governor said in a statement.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment sent a letter to CHSAA outlining how sports can be played safely.
The health department also released guidelines for organized sports that apply to both high school and club teams.
A county where COVID-19 cases are rising too quickly — defined by the state as “Level 3” on its online system — will be reevaluated and the approval to play fall sports may be rescinded there. Currently, none of Colorado’s 64 counties are in Level 3.
Schools will still have the option to offer fall sports in the spring.
The state is requiring all players, coaches, officials and staff to wear masks and practice physical distancing when not actively playing or performing. They also cannot go into spectator areas.
Everyone must also wear masks during transportation.
Teams will have to follow the same guidelines as schools if there is a positive COVID-19 case or outbreak.