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Michigan high school sports activities may begin under certain conditions

Elaine Sung
Detroit Free Press

The Michigan High School Athletic Association on Wednesday released new guidelines allowing for school sports activities to begin under certain situations.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's announcement Monday to lift the stay-at-home order allowed for the MHSAA's decision.

Among the updated guidelines: Both the school's administration and the district it is in must first announce that school facilities are open before summer activities may start. They also may not open until the last day of online instructions and exams has ended.

Protestors march through downtown Detroit on Sunday, May 31, 2020 against police brutality and justice for George Floyd on the third day of protesting in Detroit.

Only outdoor facilities may be used, and only groups of 100 or fewer may use them at one time. Gyms, weight rooms and indoor swimming pools will still be closed, and competition is not allowed yet because social distancing continues.

Prior to the lifting of the stay-at-home order, the MHSAA said no school facilities would be open prior to June 13.

“We were excited and encouraged by Governor Whitmer’s announcements Monday," MHSAA executive director Mark Uyl said in a statement. "Our schools have been cautiously eager to take this long-awaited first step. We will continue to provide updates in accordance with the Governor’s directives for reopening the state, always prioritizing safety for all involved in school sports programs.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer hosts a live news conference on June 1, 2020.

The winter sports playoffs, most of which had been in progress and near completion when the coronavirus pandemic put them on hold, were canceled April 3, and the spring sports seasons were cut entirely.

Other guidelines (some of which are a continuation from prior to Whitmer's Monday announcement):

• Balls may be used, but they, and other equipment used by multiple participants (relay batons, etc.) must be cleaned.

• Social distancing of 6 feet continues.

• Runners must be 6 feet apart; no grouping is allowed.

• Golfers also must remain 6 feet apart.

• Cheerleading: Chants and jumps allowed, with distancing (no routines involving physical contact is permitted).

• Baseball, softball: Players should not share gloves, batting gloves, helmets and catcher’s equipment.

• Bowling, ice hockey: Indoor facilities remain closed.

Wrestling, gymnastics: All training must take place outdoors.