The Alaska School Activities Association lifted its restrictions on out-of-season coach and player interactions on June 1. However, the Kodiak school district is taking a slower approach to reopening athletics.

Kodiak Island Borough School District activities coordinator Debbie Rohrer addressed the district’s stance on Tuesday’s edition of “The Lowdown” on KMXT. 

“We have to keep in mind the safety of our students,” she said. “I don’t personally want to rush and make a decision that is not the best for our kids.”

She said school officials are creating a COVID-19 mitigation plan for teams to begin off-season practices and hopes to give coaches the green light to proceed soon. 

“Just because the state has opened up pretty much everything, I don’t want to say OK, let’s go. I want to make sure we have a safe environment for everybody,” Rohrer said. 

When ASAA shut down all athletics and activities in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, coaches were prohibited from conducting practices, either in person or virtually. 

The organization lifted its out-of-season restrictions on June 1 and posted protocols for return on its website, while also leaving the option to return up to each school district.  

“We are really excited to meet up, but we are willing to be patient as the district examines their options and develops a policy that is promoting safety, health and fairness for our athletes,” Kodiak cross country and track coach Ashley Mortenson told KMXT. 

Throughout the closure, Mortenson has posted inspirational weekly workouts on the team’s Facebook page. She said many people — students and community members — have used the workouts to stay in shape.

 This weekend would have concluded the spring sports season in Alaska and ushered in the preseason for fall sports — football, swimming, volleyball, cross country, tennis and cheerleading. 

Rohrer said the fall sports schedule is still intact, but that could change based on what the pandemic will look like in a month.

“Whatever we scheduled back in January for this fall, that is what we are going with. Nothing has changed in regards to the fall sports,” Rohrer said.

Mortenson said she is hoping for the best. 

“Everything is going to look a little different this fall,” she said. “I’m planning for a normal season, and I’m not expecting one.”

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