KSHSAA will allow students who choose remote learning to participate in sports

Sports practice will be allowed to resume immediately after a 5-2 vote by the Shawnee Mission Board of Education on Wednesday. File photo.

The Kansas State High School Activities Association’s board last week approved a policy change that will allow students who choose to receive all of their instruction remotely for the fall semester to participate in sports and other activities.

Standing policy prior to the board’s adoption of the change required that students be physically in class at least one day per week to participate in sports and other KSHSAA activities. With the likelihood that many students who would like to participate in sports and other activities may choose remote learning for the fall semester on account of the pandemic, KSHSAA deemed it advisable to update its policy.

“The KSHSAA recognizes the value of co-curricular and extra-curricular participation,” read a statement accompanying the new policy. “We believe the resumption of in person classes, sports and other activities is crucial to the growth development and mental and emotional wellness of our nation’s youth, however, the remote learning opportunity with a direct instruction expectation should not restrict students from participation in KSHSAA sponsored events when appropriate for each individual student.”

All other eligibility requirements — including academic standards and the requirement that students be enrolled in at least one class at the school in which they’ll participate — remain in effect.

The board also noted that it will be conducting a survey of Kansas superintendents regarding the anticipated first day of classes for the 2020-21 academic year and will use that information “for a consideration of a possible modification to the start of the fall activity season.”

A number of Kansas districts — including Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Kansas City, Kansas, Public School — have already announced they will postpone the start of the year until after Labor Day on account of rising COVID-19 cases in the metro area.

The fall KSHSAA season had been set to begin August 17.