Kiski Area planning for fall sports season despite distance learning decision

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Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 3:25 PM


Kiski Area’s superintendent announced plans to start next school year online, an approach other districts may adopt, but that doesn’t mean sports are canceled.

“If every other PIAA school in the WPIAL is ramping up for fall sports, we will be doing the same thing,” Kiski Area athletic director John Peterman said. “If they’re doing sports, we’re going to be doing sports.”

Peterman already is making plans for a socially distant sports season.

It’s important to start planning now, he said, because solutions may take some creativity. For example, Kiski Area could convert outdoor tennis courts into girls volleyball practice areas, if need be.

“I’ve had every one of my fall coaches give me a social-distancing practice schedule,” Peterman said. “For instance, the football team will be going in two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening. One with skill guys and one with linemen and linebackers. There’ll be 25 football players at a time.”

Kiski Area superintendent Tim Scott revealed plans last week to resume fall classes through distance learning with hopes to evolve into a hybrid system that would eventually see students return to the classrooms in shifts.

The hybrid system would have students divided into two groups. Group A would attend in-person classes one week while Group B engages in remote learning. The groups would switch the following week.

All students would learn remotely on Fridays.

“I think he’s being very proactive,” Peterman said. “He also said in the video to the community that things can change. If they say everything can open up, it’ll open up. But it’s being proactive.”

The WPIAL sponsors 10 fall sports, including nine that compete outdoors: football, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls golf, girls tennis and field hockey. Girls volleyball is the only indoor sport.

Peterman said he’s confident high school varsity sports can adapt but is concerned about lower levels of interscholastic athletics, especially middle school.

“A lot of varsity kids drive,” Peterman said. “But middle school kids — 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds — can’t drive. If their parents are working, how are they going to get here for after-school practice if they’re on the schedule for online distance learning for that week?”

That’s a problem schools will need to solve this summer.

For now, teams across the state are waiting for Gov. Tom Wolf and the Pa. Department of Health to release return-to-sports guidelines for covid-19. The guidelines were expected to arrive this week.

The PIAA has said it won’t clear teams to resume offseason workouts until those guidelines are put in place.

“We’ll take down some tennis courts and have them practice volleyball with no diving and digging, if we have to,” Peterman said. “We’ll have everything up and running as soon as we get a green light.”

Chris Harlan is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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