The long anticipated fall guidelines have been released by the Montana High School Association.

Mark Beckman, Executive Director of the Montana High School Association, said on Monday that ‘the resumption of sports and all of our other activities is crucial to the growth, development and mental and emotional wellness of our Montana high school youth.’

Beckman said the MHSA has developed a five tier system to determine how sports will be played in the COVID 19 environment.

“In tier one, we’re going to play the games as scheduled, except we’re not going to have multi-team events in the sports of volleyball, football and soccer,” said Beckman. “There won’t be any sub-varsity jamborees where we bring in multiple teams in football together. There won’t be any invitational tournaments in volleyball. The reason for that is those are going to be long days with multiple teams where transmission opportunities are greater.”

Tier one is when all conditions are ideal, however the MHSA has also made contingency plans.

“Tier two is where we have a delayed start,” he said. “We get closer to it and there’s a delayed start because of an outbreak, or there’s an interruption after we start. Then, we would cancel non-conference games and still keep our post season as scheduled. Tier three is with a longer delayed start, or an interruption for a longer time. Again, we would cancel non-conference games and then we would shorten the conference season and they would through their conferences, figure out seeding.”

Beckman said plans have been made for even more delays.

“Tier four is if we start and then all of a sudden we have a long, mid-season interruption,” he said. “We would shorted the conference season, seed by conferences, and then possibly looking at changing our post season dates and formats. Tier five, if there’s a long interruption we’d try to get some games in and maybe some round robin play and look at adjusting the four seasons. Tier four and five are more geared toward just trying to get in what we can, but also maybe salvaging a post season.”

Beckman said all testing will be done through each local county health department.

“It’s all going to be through the local health department,” he said. “We don’t have any testing requirements here because as we know in Montana there’s a strong feeling of local control. In Legion baseball this year you have some areas that are allowing more fans, some that are allowing less, and they have different guidelines.  There will be different requirements in regards if a student is found to have COVID, then they’ll have to have a certain amount of quarantine, but we’re going to leave that up to the local health departments working with the local schools.”

Click here to see the complete requirements from the Montana High School Association.

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