ELY – Youth sports games and scrimmages can resume this week for outdoor sports, and July 1 or later for indoor sports, under new guidance issued last week by the Minnesota Department of …
ELY – Youth sports games and scrimmages can resume this week for outdoor sports, and July 1 or later for indoor sports, under new guidance issued last week by the Minnesota Department of Health.
“It is important that we look for opportunities to allow children to engage in activities that promote health and well-being,” Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said in a statement announcing the plans.
“While several key metrics show COVID-19 transmission is slowing, we are still in the middle of a pandemic,” she added. “Learning to live with COVID-19 means finding ways to balance risks and benefits, and that’s what we are seeking to do with this guidance.”
With the Ely school board’s approval, practices started earlier this month for youth baseball players.
Prior to opening Veterans Memorial field for the summer, the school district’s attorney drafted a lease agreement with the local baseball association that is in effect for June, July and August.
The American Legion baseball season is canceled for 2020. Ely American Legion Coach and School Athletic Director Tom Coombe said Ely and other programs, for players age 19 and under, will affiliate under the Senior Babe Ruth umbrella. For players 17 and under, Ely will move from Junior Legion to VFW baseball for this summer.
Coombe said the Iron Range Baseball League, for players age 13 and 14, will go forward with games this summer. “They started Wednesday night,” he said this week, “and our VFW team is set to host a game at 1 p.m. on Saturday.”
Among the recommendations, the department calls on players, coaches, and others to:
• Avoid sharing individual water bottles, community snacks or towels.
• Try to use “dedicated personal equipment” such as bats, mitts and rackets.
• Find new ways to show sportsmanship, including “tip your hats instead of handshakes.”
• Ensure policies are considerate of staff, volunteers, and participants at highest risk of complications from COVID-19.
• Adhere to social distancing recommendations when participants are not playing (on the bench, in the dugout, etc.).
• Practice social distancing of six feet from other households during player drop off/pick up.
• Friends and family should not attend practices to avoid crowding.
• Maintain health checks and screening of participants and staff/volunteers.
• Organizations should require participants and family members to stay home when sick.
While following the guidance can help reduce risk, “in the end everyone has to make their own decisions about what level of risk they are willing to accept,” Malcolm said.
“Some families, especially those with members who face an elevated risk of severe illness, may choose not to participate. That is perfectly OK, and everyone needs to respect that decision when a family or a player makes it.”
Fall sports season
Officials also said the Minnesota Department of Education is working with the Minnesota State High School League to develop activities and sports guidance for schools for the fall sports season.
ISD 696 students interested in joining the Ely cross country team this fall are invited by Coach Jayne Dusich to participate in summer training activities that got underway last Friday. She was pleasantly surprised when close to 30 runners showed up for the first day of training activities.
“Even though it is 7 a.m. on a summer morning, I think they just wanted to get out to do something,” she said.
“All Ely student cross country athletes entering grades six to 12 in the upcoming school year are welcome to join in summer training that runs throughout the summer,” she said. Runners meet at the Trezona Trail Parking lot at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings. More experienced athletes run four to six miles, and beginners run one to three miles.
“Our plan for addressing COVID-19 health safety concerns will be to follow the guidance given by the National Federation of State and High School Associations,” Dusich said. “This will include social distance measures and pre-workout screening.”
She asked athletes to do their part by self-monitoring prior to coming to practice.
“If you have any symptoms (fever above 100.3, sore throat, shortness of breath, cough) or have had close contact or cared for someone with COVID-19, please do not come to the Friday group runs,” she said.
contact Coach Dusich at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Assistant Coach Megan Devine at email@example.com.