Michigan high school athletes adapt to COVID policies in preparation for winter season amid rising cases

Ann Arbor schools only known district to postpone winter sports

GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – As COVID-19 cases rise throughout Michigan, high school sports teams must adapt to new policies and procedures.

At Grosse Pointe South, the varsity girl’s basketball team has begun practicing for the winter season. The team is doing everything they can to make sure they have a season this year, from wearing masks to cleaning the balls and socially distancing.

Other high school winter sports are required to wear masks 100 percent of the time, like wrestling and competitive cheerleading. Bowling and gymnastics teams have to follow mask and social distancing rules, too.

Related: Michigan breaks another one-day virus record with 8,516 new cases, 118 more deaths reported Friday

But not all high school athletes will be able to participate in winter sports amid the pandemic.

The Ann Arbor Public School District announced Friday that winter sports will be postponed until January due to rising COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County and the state. So far, Ann Arbor’s school district is the only district to officially pause their winter sports.

Geoff Kimmerly, a member of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) says the decision to play winter sports is left to each individual school district. Still, the association is in constant contact with the Michigan state health department to ensure the guidelines they put together are compliant with emergency orders coming from the health department.

According to Kimmerly, the fall was a success for high school sports teams: 95 percent of all football teams were able to play every single week, and volleyball teams had similar statistics.

The hope is that, with stringent rules in place, winter sport athletes will have the opportunity to compete as well -- despite increasing coronavirus spread throughout the state.

Related: MHSAA confirms winter high school sports in Michigan will start on time

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