SPRINGFIELD, Mo — After a long offseason loaded with early uncertainty, it appears football will be played, but it will look different for fans.
Springfield Public High Schools will kick off their seasons next Friday night, something that many people may think wouldn’t have happened a few weeks ago.
Parkview Senior Devin Holt has been looking forward to this season his whole life. It kicks off in 10 days when the Vikings take on Waynesville. But Holt will tell you, it’s been an unusual offseason, one that requires work off the field to be able to play.
“Excited to play. I’m glad we’re able to be on the field honestly. Didn’t expect that to happen after what’s been going on. For a little bit, June, it was just workout. We had to split up freshman, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. As soon as July started, we were able to be in pads, just have fun, be on the field,” Holt says.
But keeping players on the field is something that SPS Athletic Director Josh Scott is a collective effort.
“We’ve worked cooperatively with the Greene County Health Dept. and our governing body, (MSHSAA) Missouri State High School Activities Association has come out with many guidelines and recommendations for us to use through this,” Scott says.
Screening before practice, masking during practice, and sanitizing after practice is things Springfield teams have been trying to do. Springfield teams will not play any games outside of Southwest Missouri this season. Scott says the difference in coaching has played a big role as well.
“We’re trying to limit contact. How much contact do our kids have to have to be mentally and physically prepared for Friday night, and how much of it can we limit to limit our direct contact with each other,” says Scott.
Families are a big part of this equation too. One of those parents is Sarah Robinson, whose son is a Parkview senior.
“They have told us that we are allowed to come to the games, they would like us to be 6 feet apart, socially distanced. We can sit with our families of course, but even from friends, and we will have to wear masks in the stands. At the beginning of the year we weren’t so sure, but as things progressed, it looks like we’re going to get to play,” says Robinson.
Over the last week, it was announced that separate individuals – one with Kickapoo football, and one with Central Volleyball – tested positive for COVID-19.
SPS says only a limited number of people were potentially exposed to Kickapoo football, and those few are asked to monitor themselves.
However, all those associated with Central’s HS Volleyball team are told to quarantine until August 25.
Scott would not comment on any specific cases but did say any positive tests in athletics will be talked through with the Health Department for direction on a decision.