School, WHSAA: Diligence needed

By: 
Alexis Barker

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

As fall sports for high schools across the state wind down, schools are being encouraged by the Wyoming High School Activities Association to remain diligent in protecting athletes and spectators from COVID-19 or adjustments will have to be made for the winter seasons, according to Newcastle High School Principal Tracy Ragland. 

With the high school preparing to host part of the conference swim meet, which will take place in two locations due to guidelines regarding COVID-19, Ragland told the Weston County School District No. 1 board of trustees that he is concerned about the future of winter sports if attitudes about the health guidelines don’t change. Ragland said he had spoken with WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird about the issue. “We are losing focus of why we have all these rules,” Ragland said. 

According to Ragland, Laird explained that if schools, athletes, coaches and spectators did not stop finding “loopholes” in the guidelines that the winter sports season guidelines will see adjustments. 

“Tempers are getting short and attitudes are getting clear,” Ragland said. 

It’s important for everyone to remind themselves that they want to keep sports, activities and schools going for the students, he said. 

“We need to make sure others’ decisions don’t contaminate everything to the point that it falls apart,” Ragland said. “It is being thrown out there, if schools don’t get their act together, winter sports could suffer because of it.” 

In a follow-up call to Laird by the News Letter Journal, Ragland’s words to the board were reiterated. 

“With winter sports, we don’t know what to expect; they are indoors and they are contact sports,” Laird said. “Right now, we have plans approved, but there are concerns.” 

If schools, athletes and spectators follow the guidelines set forth by the association, he said, then an issue is less likely to arise. 

“If we don’t continue to do good, we don’t know what winter sports could look like,” Laird said. “I know no one likes being the mask police, but this is the reality of it. We don’t know what to expect with winter sports, especially as cases climb across the state.”

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