Effects of pandemic safety measures being felt as sports seasons begin

by Dana Hess SD Newspaper Association

As high school sports practices start up across South Dakota, coaches, athletes and administrators are realizing that it’s not business as usual during a pandemic.

The South Dakota High School Activities Association board of directors heard reports about the start of fall sports Thursday, August. 13, at their August meeting in Pierre. The meeting was live streamed on the internet.

One safety measure in football has been particularly vexing.

The problem is “how the heck to keep each kid with their own water bottle,” said SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand. “That’s required some creativity.”

While it’s important to keep players from sharing a water source, Krogstrand said most of the responsibility will fall to players. He said if they can each keep track of their own helmets, they can probably keep track of their own water bottles, too.

SDHSAA Assistant Executive Director Jo Auch said she has cautioned volleyball officials to wear masks if the school district where the match is being played mandates masks.

“This is what’s best for the sport right now,” Auch said.

Looking forward to large cheer and dance competitions, Auch advised that teams should be brought into the facility three at a time. They should warm up, perform and leave.

Auch said she didn’t know if fans could stay or should leave after the team they’re rooting for leaves.

“I don’t have a good answer for that,” Auch said. “Those are some of the growing pains we’re going to have to deal with.”