Will high school sports be conducted this fall? Will they all be played, or just some of them?
If they are played, will fans be allowed to attend?
What new safety measures will need to be put in place?
What will the schedule look like if sports are allowed in some cities or counties within a specific conference but not in others?
These are all questions Janesville athletics officials will likely encounter in the coming days, weeks and months amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday night, the Janesville School Board showed unanimous support to—at the very least—allow those officials to proceed in making plans to conduct fall sports.
“We just asked you to accept our plan for reentry for school, and we thought it would be a good order for you to now approve the sports plan,” assistant superintendent Scott Garner told the board before a short presentation. “And quite honestly, it’s fluid.
“Our base philosophy for our reentry plan was parent choice—parent and student choice—and as an athletics program, that’s what we want to provide for parents, an informed choice.”
Garner said the district has followed guidance from the Rock County Health Department, the WIAA and the National Federation of High School Sports as athletic activities have returned to school facilities in recent weeks.
Those protocols will continue to be followed and given to students and parents moving forward.
Parents, or students if they are 18 years old, will be required to sign an acknowledgment of risk before participating in their particular sport this fall, Garner said.
“I think it’s important to give our families and our students a choice to participate,” Garner said.
Football practice is scheduled to begin practice Aug. 4, with equipment distributed one day earlier.
On Monday, the Waunakee School Board decided to cancel the football program’s nonconference games this fall, pushing the start of practice to Aug. 17. Waunakee’s season opener is now slated to take place Sept. 4 against Janesville Parker at Monterey Stadium.
Waunakee’s decision might be the first of many dominoes to fall when it comes to the area fall high school sports season.
Whichever direction those dominoes fall, after Tuesday’s meeting, Janesville officials at least have the go-ahead to continue making plans.