This message was also emailed to families on 6/30/20.
As we all look forward to the 2020-21 school year, we pray things will return to some of the normal we remember. We pray for peace, understanding, and patience for all of us as we work to get through this together. For those of you who don’t know who I am, I serve as the Activities Director at Fox Valley Lutheran. The primary aspect of my job is to oversee our athletic and non-athletic co-curriculars. This is why I am reaching out today.
Over the course of the last few weeks, things have continued to change significantly regarding our approach to July athletics. When the WIAA announced in April that spring sports would be canceled, but would allow us to hold competitions in the month of July, our reaction was joy for the graduating seniors to have one last chance to put on the FVL uniform and we’d have the opportunity to honor them the way they deserve to be honored. However, many of us were also thinking this pandemic would be over by now, or at least paused during the summer months. Fast forward to today and we are all realizing this isn’t the case. In early to middle June, we came to the realization that July wasn’t going to look the way we hoped. Most schools in the area made the decision not to have a competitive spring season and many said they were going to be done with spring sports all together. The focus for them and us began to change. In July, some of our spring teams will still hold practices, but, the focus in July will be on getting our athletes prepared for the seasons to come in the fall.
With that in mind, we went to work on a “Back-to-Play Plan” with guidelines and direction for coaches on how to safely proceed through the month of July, but also allowing them to do things that will help them get ready for the upcoming seasons. The fact that we are still squarely in the middle of a global pandemic causes us to put a number of restrictions in place. Going back to “normal” is going to take some time. Last Friday, the administration met with the Appleton Health Department to get their recommendations on how we should proceed. In consultation with the Appleton Health Department, the Wisconsin Independent Athletic Association (WIAA), the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), local high schools, and a number of coaches from FVL, we put together our plan.
As of right now, the city of Appleton sits in the “High Risk” category for Covid-19 spread. Understanding this, we have based our guidelines on the recommendations on how to proceed. In the “High Risk” category, the guidelines are pretty strict. There is to be no physical contact and social distancing is required and no sharing of any equipment. These new guidelines will be very difficult for our coaches and kids to adhere to, but they will be expected. I have no doubt everyone will do their best to keep each other safe and healthy. We want to make sure that we don’t do anything in July that is going to jeopardize our ability to play in August. We want to be in the classrooms, on the court, and on the field face-to-face, and ready to learn and play in August. These are the new goals. What we do in July will have a profound impact for August!
One of the questions I’ve been asked over the last few days is how restrictive our plan is compared to other schools in the area or other schools in the conference. I can assure you that most schools in our conference are following these same guidelines. All of the Appleton city schools are doing the same. Our primary objective is to keep our kids and their families safe from this disease, but also good to know our athletes won’t be behind all the other schools in the area who are going through similar restrictions.
The plan we have is attached to this email. Please take a look, read it over and become familiar. Please take note that when your child steps on our campus for a practice, they are required to have four things with them: a towel, a full water bottle, a mask, and some hand sanitizer. Please make sure they have these things or we will be forced to turn them away. If you have any questions on the document, please feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you have about how we are moving forward. I continue to pray for you and your children as we all navigate the next steps through athletics and academics. Have a great day!
Fox Valley Lutheran High School