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The KSHSAA vote on parents and the covid era-realities for activities


Beginning on Thursday, December 10, parents and guardians will be allowed to attend KSHSAA-sanctioned events, a victory for parents who had lobbied the KSHSAA and filed an official appeal to an earlier decision by the board of directors that banned spectators entirely. By a 54-24 margin, the board passed on Tuesday, December 8, the following motion: Effective Thursday, December 10 through January 28, 2021, interscholastic activities will allow for attendance of up to two parents/guardians per participant(s) family as allowed by local board of education or health department restrictions.


Of course, that is good news for parents who felt blindsided by the earlier decision that had left them on the outside looking in with regard to their kids’ sports activities. Parents and guardians now have a chance to watch these events live and continue to follow their children to out-of-town contests. But there are some caveats to the decision that must be understood that will temper some of the enthusiasm for the December 8 decision. Below are some of the important distinctions: 


  1. This decision only allows for parents/guardians to attend. It does not pertain to extended family members or siblings. 

  2. The hosting school’s board of education or local health department has the authority to impose more stringent guidelines on who is allowed to attend. For instance, a hosting school may decide not to allow parents at all. 

  3. All Covid mitigation measures imposed by either the KSHSAA or by the county health department are still in effect. This pertains especially to mask-wearing and efforts to socially distance. 

  4. Any community/school that is reported to the KSHSAA and is determined to have intentionally disregarded these rules is subject to the loss of postseason opportunities and other sanctions. 


Certainly, there are many grandparents, siblings, and other fans of Sainty athletics that find themselves disappointed by the decision. In our pre-covid world, watching events was something we took for granted, an activity that was looked upon as one of our “inalienable rights.” But under our current circumstances, where entities like the KSHSAA, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and other authorities have a lot to say about how we conduct activities like sporting events during a pandemic, we should feel some level of thankfulness for what we are still allowed to do. 


For the events that will not be streamed by Openspacessports.com or some other platform, we will do our utmost to make sure the events your kids are competing in are streamed live on the internet. Likely sources for streaming will be the St. Francis Community Junior/Senior High School Facebook page, as well as the St. Francis Lady Indians Basketball page. We will communicate to you via Remind where the games will be streamed to. Thanks to the generosity of the St. Francis Booster Club and a donation in memory of Don Reichart, the athletic department and music department are well equipped to make these events available to those who are unable to attend. 


School administrators will also be present at these events where parents are not allowed to attend. Should an injury take place or some other health concern occur, administrators will be responsible for attending to the situation and will be in close contact with the student’s parents. 


Needless to say, nothing about our current situation regarding athletics and other KSHSAA activities is ideal. So many people have been asked (or told) to give up so much! Music and drama activities have been curtailed, dance competitions and other contests at the state level have been relegated to virtual participation only, and sporting events have been canceled all over. Every facet of our school’s normal operations has been altered, and as fickle as our plans seem to be, we should expect more surprises in the days to come. 


On behalf of the USD administration, allow me to thank you all for your understanding and cooperation. As frustrating as things have been for our families at times, it is hard to imagine a community enduring these circumstances with more grace.