The NHIAA Division I schools agreed on a timeline for the winter sports season in a meeting Friday, said Keene High School athletic director Mike Atkins. Now it is up to each school to decide which individual sports can be played.
The timeline, as decided by the schools’ athletic directors, is as follows:
Dec. 14-24: winter sports tryouts will take place;
Dec. 24-Jan. 3: all winter sports activities will be put on hold;
Jan. 15: winter sports competitions begin.
The gap in the timeline will allow for students to quarantine for two weeks after the holiday break, if needed, without missing any winter sports activities.
Tryouts would normally be taking place in the next few weeks, Atkins said, but the delay was necessary to give schools enough time to prepare for a safe and successful winter sports season.
“We’re not ready,” Atkins said. “We’re just not ready.”
It is up to each school to decide which sports can or cannot be safely supported this season. Atkins said there are still a lot of decisions to be made, so the extra time to come up with a plan is helpful.
Many winter sports are indoors, which adds another layer of difficulty to an already challenging process.
Another hurdle is finding locations at which to compete. Atkins said many of the off-site locations, like a pool for the swim team, are limiting what outside teams can compete at their site.
Once it’s decided which sports can go on this winter and how they can hold a season safely, it will be up to the school board to approve the plan.
The number one priority, Atkins said, is students’ safety.