In a State Public Health Order released in the late afternoon on Nov. 20, schools were given permission to resume extracurricular activities effective on Nov. 24, the day after Governor Gary Herbert’s temporary injunction reaches the announced two-week mark.
The order had put the start or continuation of the winter prep sports season on hold. Permission has now been given for tryouts for boys and girls basketball and wrestling to begin on Nov. 24, and for swimming practices to resume.
Game schedules were impacted by the earlier decision and will have to be reworked. There are also new rules and protocols which will have to be followed in order for participation to continue.
The portion of the order relevant to prep activities reads as follows:
6. Restrictions on organized sports and activities.
a. High school athletic and extracurricular social gatherings. A person may not be an event host for, or participate in, a high-school-sponsored social gathering that is an athletic or extracurricular activity, including a competition or practice, unless:
i. beginning no later than November 30, 2020, the high school verifies that each participant received a diagnostic test approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration to determine current COVID-19 infection within the 14 days immediately prior to the athletic or extracurricular activity; and
ii. immediately prior to participating in the athletic or extracurricular activity, each participant confirms that the participant: A. has completed any quarantine or isolation period required by the COVID-19 School Manual provided by the Department; and B. is not experiencing any symptom of COVID-19.
b. Other athletic and extracurricular activities. A person may not be an event host for, or participate in, a social gathering that is an athletic or extracurricular activity not covered by Subsection (6)(a), including a club sport and college or university intramural activity, but not including intercollegiate athletics, unless immediately prior to participating in the athletic or extracurricular activity, each participant confirms that the participant:
i. has completed any quarantine or isolation period as specified by the local health department; and
ii. is not experiencing any symptom of COVID-19.
c. Event host exception. Notwithstanding Subsection (4)(b), an event host of a social gathering that is an athletic or extracurricular activity authorized under Section (6) is not required to require six feet physical distance between each participant. A participant does not include a spectator.
The letter from UHSAA officials which had the health order attached included the following statement:
“There are more details and resources that will need to be worked out at the state and district level in the coming days, with more information regarding testing requirements and protocols coming in the next few days from the State Office of Education and the School Superintendents Association. Once again, practice and tryouts will begin on Tuesday and more information will be coming to district superintendents and school leaders in coming days on next steps regarding competition.”