No fall sports in the Mountain West: coronavirus news roundup, 8.10.20

Boise State University football is off the table this fall.

The Mountain West Conference announced on Monday afternoon that it plans to indefinitely postpone fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic, including cross country, football, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.

Golf, tennis, women’s swimming and diving, indoor track and field, softball and baseball competitions were cancelled last week.

“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students, student-athletes, coaches, faculty staff and overall communities,” chair of the Mountain West board of directors Mary Papazian said in a news release.

The decision means no fall football games for Boise State, Nevada, New Mexico, Hawaii, Wyoming the Air Force, Colorado State, Fresno State, San Diego State, San Jose State, Utah State or the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

The conference is considering the possibility of rescheduling fall sports to the spring.

KTVB reported last month that Boise State football makes up 40-50 percent of the athletic department budget.

Athletic Director Curt Apsey told reporter Jay Tust in July that if football season was canceled that the university would lose ticket sales, television revenue, seat donations and more. He predicted the spillover could impact BSU enrollment and the finances of businesses that make money on BSU’s football season.

“It would be detrimental to us if that didn’t happen,” he said. “Bad or good, we’re obviously not going to be the only school in that position. That is a big worry for a lot of campuses.”

Twin Falls opts to start the year in-person

The Twin Falls school district on Monday night decided to start the school year with in-person learning, assuming that is the recommendation from the South Central Public Health District when school begins.

Trustees unanimously decided to follow South-Central’s opening guidance. Right now, they say the district is in the moderate-risk, or “yellow” category, which would allow students in-person with enhanced disinfecting practices, social distancing protocols and required face coverings.

Superintendent Brady Dickinson told the board that the health district doesn’t expect to change the risk-category of the school before the school start date on Monday, August 19.

But “COVID does it’s own thing” and the district will want to re-evaluate the  situation  if south-central district health decides that Twin Falls is in a higher risk category in  the next week.

Click here to read the district’s full plan for “enhanced traditional” learning with minimal to moderate spread of COVID-19 in the community.

Central District Health says school district risk-levels unchanged this week

The West Ada, Boise and Kuna school districts will remain in the highest coronavirus risk category for this week, Central District Health officials announced Monday.

Meanwhile, seven other school districts in the Central District Health area remain in Category 2, the middle level of risk.

Those Category 2 schools are:

  • Basin
  • Garden Valley
  • Horseshoe Bend
  • Glenns Ferry
  • Mountain Home
  • Cascade
  • McCall-Donnelly

All told, none of CDH’s risk classifications changed since last week, which was the first time the classifications were publicly posted.

The classifications are important because they give local school boards nonbinding information and guidance about how to respond to the coronavirus.

The classifications align to the school reopening guidelines Gov. Brad Little and the State Board of Education unveiled in July.

  • Under Category 3, the state’s nonbinding guidance is for school buildings to be closed as districts deploy remote or online learning.
  • Under Category 2, districts can choose from several responses and learning models. But the state guidance does include a blended instruction model that combines remote distance learning with in-person instruction in smaller groups or staggered schedules.

CDH officials have said families should not expect their schools to be in Category 1, the lowest COVID-19 risk level, at any point during the 2020-21 school year.

CDH officials will make category determinations and post them on their website each week.

Last week, Boise trustees voted to start the school year virtually with students at home when classes begin Aug. 17.

 

 

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