One season of sports has already been erased by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic that began in early March and is still greatly affecting athletes across all levels of sports.
Now, after just over two months into the pandemic, coaches, athletes and administrators are hoping for a return to their fields of play this summer to prepare for the fall seasons.
Each of the local districts has announced plans to keep student/athletes in shape and ready for a return to competition in the fall, with the caveat that any activities must be compliant with guidelines posted by the Leavenworth County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health.
"We are encouraging them to start taking part in those non-sports specific workouts," Lansing and Basehor-Linwood swimming coach David Bresser said.
The Kansas State High School Activities Association issued guidelines in early May for schools to begin planning workouts and camps that could begin June 1. Those guidelines include:
n During the first calendar week, athletes may only engage in a maximum of three hours of activity per day. Organized competition sanctioned by outside organizations shall not take place during this time.
n During the second week, the maximum time athletes may engage in activities is raised to five hours per day.
n Students may begin organized competition under the guidance of their school coaches beginning the third week of a summer activity program.
n One-week school coach team camps may begin after the 10-day acclimatization period detailed above and take place through Aug. 15.
Under the current guidelines, fall practices are scheduled to begin on time on Aug. 17 but are subject to change.
KSHSAA issued additional guidelines for football teams returning to the field for the first time since the fall which include allowing 5-on-5 and 7-on-7 drills, as well as week-long camps, after the initial three-week conditioning period is over. College contact camps will also be permitted with a two-day maximum from the end of the initial period to Aug. 15.
Leavenworth High School released its workout plan and began bringing athletes back to work with their teams Monday. The Pioneers have also announced team camps for its football and boys basketball teams. The basketball camp is scheduled to begin June 15 and end June 19 with times still to be announced. Football camp is scheduled to run from 8-11 a.m. beginning June 22 and ending June 26. A youth football camp is scheduled for July 27-29 from 5-8 p.m.
One concern of the new guidelines and summer schedule comes for the area high school swimming teams. Bresser said one of the frustrating parts of how KSHSAA’s guidelines interact with the guidelines in place by the state government is how pools will open. While Lansing, Leavenworth and Basehor-Linwood’s swimming teams are allowed under KSHSAA rules to begin workouts June 1, pools are not permitted to open until June 8 under state guidelines.
"So we can’t even get in the water," Bresser said. "And I know that a lot of them are anxious to try to do that and we’re gonna have to put in some significant restrictions when we start doing those practices, but they’re anxious to get back in the pool."
Bresser said the pandemic has also affected summer swimming as the Sea Lions’ season was canceled in a leaguewide decision but they are exploring ways to still hold the program this summer.
"We were supposed to start right after Memorial Day," he said. "But obviously, that’s been pushed and we’ve been discussing ideas of how we can offer a safe environment, but still have the team come in June 8 in smaller sessions."
For the high school swimmers, Bresser said he is not planning any camps until after the July 4 and take a more focused approach to the sessions and is feeling positive they will be able to take place.
"We would start with stuff more focused like stroke technique and starts," he said. "And do some of those clinics as we get ahead into July and I’m optimistic that those types of things can occur."
He added that there is a lot of optimism toward more restrictions being lifted by the time those camps come around.
"I’m hoping that we continue to see more restrictions lifted," he said. "And we’ll see some more of the things where people are more comfortable participating."