Although the OSSAA says prep sports are now green-lighted to return, the COVID-19 coronavirus hasn’t simply disappeared.
Student-athletes are still in danger of contracting or unwittingly spreading the novel virus as asymptomatic carriers, which is why some local schools are pumping the brakes on an expedited comeback.
In fact, neither Claremore, Verdigris nor Sequoyah plan to take advantage of the dropped restrictions and guidelines.
Claremore athletic director Duwayne King said the school district won’t allow any athletic activities until at least June 15. Even then, camps and practices still might not get underway in a traditional manner.
“What we’re really waiting on is the June 9 OSSAA board meeting,” King said. “We’re going to see what comes out of that and if they come out with any recommendations for the safety of our student-athletes. We’re going to wait for further information, and we’ll make a decision after that. That’ll give us some time to plan, and that’s where we are right now.”
Verdigris is taking a delayed approach as well but has yet to set a concrete date to bring athletes back to campus during the summer.
Superintendent Mike Payne and co-athletic directors Mike Buntin and Amanda May will convene next week to determine a safe plan of attack.
“We’re going to meet Tuesday morning and try to determine a plan to see where we go from here,” Buntin said. “This was really unexpected. We didn’t expect it to pass the way it was, but we figured there’d be some modifications. In no way, shape or form did we expect them to say let’s go back to the normal summer activities. We’re going to wait until next week to make a decision.”
Sequoyah is also being cautious.
Similar to Verdigris, Sequoyah athletic director Steve Cooper and superintendant Terry Saul will meet to formulate their own plan for the district’s athletic programs.
“We’re pretty sure we’re not going to go wide open right off the bat,” Cooper said. “We’re going to be smart about it and have a plan for our kids. From June 1 to June 9, we might do strength and conditioning but no team camps or practices.”