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SDHSAA gearing up for transition to winter activities amid pandemic

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:23 PM CST
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HURON, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While there were some stumbles along the way, all of the South Dakota state high school activities finished on time this fall, something State Activities Director Dan Swartos says is a relief.

“I think they went pretty well this Fall. Hasn’t been perfect but we didn’t expect it to be perfect,” Swartos says.

But now the SDHSAA is turning its focus to winter activities amid increasing numbers of COVID-19 across the state. Swartos says it’s important that schools and the SDHSAA apply what they’ve learned to this point about hosting activities, especially indoor ones.

“We need to take what we learned from those events and translate it over to what we’re doing this fall because we move indoors.”

But school districts are optimistic that they can continue activities while preventing the spread of the virus. Huron school district Activities Director Terry Rotert says he’s happy so far with crowd cooperation on the first day of the Class B state volleyball tournament.

“So far so good. We sent the information out to the teams recommending masks. And the city of Huron went to a mask mandate, so we sent out more information. Just asking people to cooperate, wear a mask,” Rotert says.

And Swartos is pleased as well with the measures taken so far and says the school districts are taking the initiative to keep activities going in the state.

“The first game today was excellent. The people in here did a really good job. We reached out to our teams beforehand, our schools. And really asked them to help push the message for us,” Swartos says.

Swartos says that a contingency plan is in place should major outbreaks appear in school districts as winter activities begin, including the possibility of pushing back dates on championships and other seasons if need be.

Earlier this month, the SDHSAA Board of Directors approved an on-time start for winter activities. They also approved a measure that states if an athlete tests positive for COVID-19, the school is required to notify other schools that they competed with over the previous 48 hours.

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