The Tempe Union High School Governing Board is scheduled to get an update on the status of fall sports during its regular meeting at 7 p.m. tonight, Aug. 19.
The update will come from each school and will reflect how players and staff have fared since summer workouts were allowed to resume in July and the precautions each have taken. There is no action item or vote on the agenda for tonight’s meeting that is related to fall athletics.
It comes nearly a week after Phoenix Union became the first large school district in the state to postpone fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Phoenix Union officials last Friday announced all sports would be postponed until benchmarks from state health officials were met and students were allowed back into classrooms.
“Unfortunately, at this time, we do not feel that it is safe for our student-athletes to continue in-person workouts – community spread of COVID-19 still far exceeds the recently released health benchmarks outlining the safe return to school,” the release said, adding it hopes to resume all athletics “later this school year.”
ZIP codes in and around the Phoenix Union boundaries have been among the hardest hit areas for the virus.
Tempe Union’s sports programs are currently in the second phase of its return-to-play plan, which allows for teams such as Mountain Pointe and Desert Vista to work in larger groups and use shared equipment, such as footballs.
With another week of downward trends, teams may be able to move into the third phase as early as Monday, Aug. 24.
“Everything is day-to-day and even week-to-week,” Huffine said. “All of our coaches have done an outstanding job. Where we are as a community, it’s giving our doctors, administrators like myself and our coaches a good feeling at the moment. If things change, we will make an adjustment.”
Huffine, who took over as Tempe Union’s athletic director in July, commended each school for its work in providing a safe environment for athletes.
“We’ve had very little issues in terms of COVID,” Huffine said. “We do temperature checks and health attestation forms every day that are uploaded to our athletic trainers and sent to our district doctor. They’ve done an amazing job of letting us know if we are safe to move onto another phase.”
Despite Phoenix Union’s decision and the thought of other districts in hard-hit areas likely to follow, Huffine said Tempe Union plans to push forward with fall athletics.
He said the district will continue to follow guidance from its health experts and the AIA, which, at this point, will also press on with its recently amended fall sports schedule that had golf begin Monday and other sports over the course of the next three weeks, including football.
However, the AIA’s timeline for fall sports could change next week after new recommendations and guidance is released by the association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee.
“We are continuing to do our part of socially distance, wear masks, have proper hygiene,” Huffine said. “The kids have done an amazing job because they know what is at stake.
“It’s a testament to what they are doing that we are able to continue moving forward.”
The Tempe Union Governing Board meeting can be viewed online at the district’s Facebook page.