In a surprising turn of events, high school contact sports are back on starting this week. In an executive order passed down by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Feb. 4, high school contact sports were allowed to resume Feb. 8 under strict guidelines.
“Contact sports are allowed as long as participants are masked during play or practice. For sports where masks cannot be worn and social distancing cannot be maintained all participants must be tested consistent with the program specified in the Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play section of MDHHS’s Interim Guidance for Athletics,” the order stated.
Girls and boys basketball, wrestling, ice hockey and competitive cheer have been allowed to practice since Jan. 16 but only with contactless activities.
For Lake Orion Community Schools, the news came at a near-perfect time.
“In Lake Orion Community Schools, we are encouraged that all of our winter student-athletes will be able to return to competition next week,” LOCS superintendent Ben Kirby said. “Through the COVID-19 pandemic, our district continues to put the safety and welfare of our students at the top of our priorities. That commitment began in the summer as our student-athletes guided the path to the overall district’s return to school by adhering to the protocols and procedures.
“After a fall sports season where our Dragons continued their commitment, we are encouraged that our winter athletes will proceed the same way, competing at the highest level while maintaining the safety standards set forth to allow them to do so. They appreciate the opportunity they have as role models for younger students in our district and community.”
The varsity girls and boys basketball teams opened up their season on Feb. 9 against Berkley and Ferndale respectively.