Administrators met early this week to discuss the coming fall sports season in St. Maries schools.

The quickest return for local teams to begin practicing would be August 10, the typical start date in a fall season.

St. Maries athletic director, Todd Gilkey, said committees are looking at alternate plans as well.

“Plan A is August 10,” Mr. Gilkey commented. “But at this point we could be looking at plans B, C, D all the way to Z even. I’ve heard some states are swapping fall and spring sports, I’ve heard plans where after every point in volleyball the ball would be tossed out of bounds and disinfected. Everything is on the table at this point. There are no dumb ideas anymore.”

Local programs are also dealing with scheduling conflicts with Washington schools, which may not begin practicing until September.

In that case, Gilkey said St. Maries’ football team, which has games scheduled with Freeman and Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls, WA), would find makeup games with Idaho teams, potentially larger school JV programs.

“It’s hard to plan right now,” Mr. Gilkey added. “If we’re approved to begin using facilities, we don’t know exactly what that would mean for how many kids we could have in the gym or on the field.”

Mr. Gilkey added that there would be a possibility coaches and officials would be required to wear facemasks should the fall season continue.

Lakeside, while encouraging its volleyball players to do at-home workouts, has begun summer workouts within its football program.

Jerel Hight, who will take over as full-time athletic director this fall with the resignation of longtime AD Ron Miller, said the situation is constantly being reevaluated.

“The football program had to submit an action plan to take into account COVID regulations,” Hight said. “They are restricted to reopening guidelines, and have been working out twice a week.”

In the absence of specified guidance from the IHSAA, local schools have been following the National guidance for reopening put out by the NFHS.

In the case of cancellations this fall, Hight said Lakeside will have plans in place to keep students busy in other extracurricular activities.

“Football will be the hardest sport to run this year,” he commented. “If we can’t run football, we have some back up plans we are discussing when it comes to extracurricular activities for our students. We are hoping it will be as close to normal as possible.”

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