Brainerd school facilities to open July 1 for summer sports programs
The Minnesota State High School League allows varsity sports programs to begin June 15, the activities director said. But because Brainerd facilities will not open until July 1, those who wish to start earlier must use non-school facilities.
Brainerd Public Schools facilities will open July 1 to welcome students and coaches for summer sports activities.
Gov. Tim Walz’s Executive Order 20-74, issued Friday, June 5, included guidelines for organized youth sports programs to follow in order to operate. This means coaches and instructors who run sports camps and clinics through community education will be able to move forward, providing all appropriate guidelines are followed, the school board heard from Activities Director Charlie Campbell and Director of Community Education Cori Reynolds Monday, June 8.
“Quite honestly, most of the high school staff is really excited just to do something, even if they have to modify the instruction and the activity,” Campbell said. “They’re just excited to be able to safely connect with kids and bring kids together to create memories and also to enhance their skills and abilities.”
The Minnesota State High School League allows varsity sports programs to begin June 15, Campbell said. But because Brainerd facilities will not open until July 1, those who wish to start earlier must use non-school facilities.
Under Walz’s order, youth sports programs and facilities must develop and implement a COVID-19 preparedness plan in accordance with state guidelines on the Stay Safe Minnesota website. These plans must be distributed and available for review by all participants and their parents or guardians.
Activities should take place outdoors as much as possible. Program organizers should create consistent pods with the same staff, volunteers and participants, with a maximum of 10 people for indoor activities and 25 people per pod for outdoor activities. On any given space, there must be sufficient space between pods to provide interaction between the groups. Guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Health provide the following ratios:
Football/soccer fields (about 57,000 square feet): No more than four pods of 10 or two pods of 25.
Ice rink (about 17,000 square feet): No more than two pods of 10.
Reynolds said the district will work to schedule indoor activities at school sites that are not undergoing construction, like Forestview Middle School and the lower site at Brainerd High School.
The Baxter Parks and Recreation program uses school facilities minimally, Reynolds said, but the fate of those activities are still up in the air. Reynolds said she has until Wednesday, June 10, to make a final decision on those programs for budgetary purposes. She told school board members she would have more information at their next meeting June 25 but noted the state guidelines in place seem to make it difficult to manage an in-person recreation season.
THERESA BOURKE may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa .