School Districts Seek To Keep Fall Sports Going Despite Distance Learning

Wednesday, August 5th 2020, 6:27 pm
By: Amy Slanchik

TULSA, Okla. -

Green Country school districts are trying to avoid a repeat of the spring semester when it comes to sports.  

Even with distance learning in place at some districts, the goal is to keep football and other activities going.  

Tulsa Public Schools will only allow a 50% capacity for its fans at football and softball games. Fans will not be allowed at volleyball games, because those are indoors. 

Football, softball and volleyball athletes at Tulsa Public Schools will kick off the school year as normally as possible. 

"Football is a little bit more of a concern, because it is a contact sport,” TPS Athletic Director Gil Cloud said.  

Cloud said despite students doing distance learning for at least the first nine weeks, it’s important to bring them back on campus for sports and other activities.  

"As far as the justification, we feel like the physical health and the mental health of our student athletes is very, very important. And to get on back to some realm of normalcy is very important at this point,” Cloud said.  

Owasso Public Schools also plans to proceed with fall sports, but with a smaller capacity for fans than TPS. 

"We measured every seat, and every gym and every field that we have and to allow someone to have that social distance, it's about a 30% capacity,” Owasso Public Schools Athletic Director Zach Duffield said.  

The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association put out guidelines - but not requirements - for districts to consider.  

"Our students, especially our spring kids, have already missed out on part of their high school career in terms of activities and we don't want that to happen again,” OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson said in a July 23 Zoom meeting with reporters.  

Cloud said he would prefer to delay playing games in all sports at TPS for at least three weeks.  

"I would feel more comfortable if we waited til the end of September to start. But if we're gonna start, we've gotta start when everybody else starts. And hopefully, it will be the right thing for us to do. With everything we have in place I think we're gonna take care of our kids, I know that for sure." 

TPS guidelines for football, softball and volleyball are expected to be released Thursday. That will include information not just for athletes and coaches at TPS, but teams from other districts coming to Tulsa to play.