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Sports expected to return this winter for the Eau Claire Area School District

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 8:39 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Sunday night, Eau Claire Area School District Superintendent Mike Johnson confirmed during a WEAU newscast that winter sports will be played this school year.

Fall sport athletes of the ECASD found it hard to watch as neighboring school districts were able to compete this season. Now, ECASD says they’re working on plans to make sure their winter athletes have a chance.

Johnson told WEAU,

“We are planning on going forward with winter sports athletics and activities. We had a meeting with about 40 to 45 parents from North and Memorial, where school leadership was able to share that information, get some feedback from them and answer some questions.”

Although COVID-19 cases are surging across the state, North High School’s athletic director Mike Pernsteiner says now that their instructional model is better understood, adding in extracurricular activities is more realistic.

“We’re pretty confident that this is something that we can do and we can do safely and not interrupt what we’re doing academically,” said Pernsteiner.

Similar to how volleyball has been played this fall in surrounding cities, winter sport athletes can also expect to wear a mask while playing indoors

“The state mandate for mask wearing is something that supersedes any guidelines right now from the WIAA ... right now the mask mandate says that anytime you’re indoors that you would be wearing a mask, even when competing,” Pernsteiner said.

Swimming and diving is the exception, however masks will be worn right before and after athletes enter the water. As for spectator rules, this will be decided by the city county health department as well as each conference.

“In the Big Rivers we have seven different counties to contend with so everybody will be getting that information out fairly soon,” said Johnson.

November 16th is the earliest possible day to practice for most of these sports.

“The sport of wrestling for example really does have to pair down their scheduling because there won’t be those opportunities for multi team events,” said Pernsteiner.

Because of the close-contact nature of wrestling, athletes will only be allowed a single dual every six to seven days.

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