EAST LANSING, Mich. – Dec. 18 – The three remaining Fall tournaments still to be completed this 2020 season by the Michigan High School Athletic Association will resume, with teams allowed to restart practice Monday, Dec. 21, according to an announcement today allowing those activities to resume by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and a plan approved by the MHSAA’s Representative Council.
The MHSAA’s Football, Girls Volleyball and Girls Swimming & Diving teams and individuals still participating in tournament play will be allowed to do so as part of an MDHHS pilot rapid testing program designed to gain insight and collect data on the spread of COVID-19 as the MDHHS plans to provide expanded rapid testing availability to schools in January. It is anticipated that specifics and details of the Fall tournament pilot testing program will be coming from the MDHHS.
- The Football Playoffs will begin again Saturday, Jan. 2, with Regional Finals for 11-player teams and Semifinals for 8-player teams. The 8-player championship games in both divisions and all 11-player Semifinals will be played the following Saturday, Jan. 9. The football season will conclude with the 11-Player Finals in all divisions the weekend of Jan. 15-16. All Semifinals in both 11 and 8-player will be played at home sites. Sites for championship games will be finalized soon and posted to the MHSAA Website.
- The Girls Volleyball Tournament will begin again with Quarterfinals on Tuesday, Jan. 5. Semifinals and Finals will be played Jan. 7-9 at Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.
- The Girls Swimming & Diving Finals with return with its three Lower Peninsula Finals competed during the weekend of Jan. 15-16 with one division at each of three locations. Diving would be completed Jan. 15, with swimming the following day.
All previous safety protocols remain in place, and no spectators will be allowed at the Fall tournament events.
All indoor Winter sports – which are not part of the pilot rapid testing program – remain on pause from the MDHHS until Jan. 16, although girls and boys alpine skiing season – competed outdoors and following safety protocols including all activity must be outdoors – will be allowed to begin practice Monday, Dec. 21. The Council will meet again Tuesday, Dec. 22, to discuss details for the rest of Winter sports.
All Spring 2021 sports are expected to begin on time and play complete seasons concluding with their traditional MHSAA Tournament dates in May and June.
The Representative Council is the legislative body of the MHSAA. All but five members are elected by member schools. Four members are appointed by the Council to facilitate representation of females and minorities, and the 19th position is occupied by the Superintendent of Public Instruction or designee.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by more than 1,500 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract more than 1.4 million spectators each year.
MDHHS Begins Cautious Re-Opening of High Schools and Indoor Entertainment, Modifying Successful “Pause”
Gatherings remain limited, but high schools, casinos, bowling alleys, theaters can reopen
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112
LANSING, MICH. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) updated its epidemic order today to allow indoor activities where Michiganders can remain masked, as this has been scientifically shown to slow the virus. This includes in-person learning at high schools and indoor entertainment venues. Casinos, bowling centers and movie theatres will be allowed to reopen with total capacity capped at 100; food and drink concessions closed; and social distancing requirements in place. The new order is effective Monday, Dec. 21 and will last until Friday, Jan. 15.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer
“These past few weeks, Michiganders across the state stepped up and did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19, and because of our collective hard work, we are now able to begin the steps to carefully lift some of the protocols we have in place. I am encouraged by the progress we have made since early November, and will continue to monitor the data closely during and after the holidays. One of the most important things Michiganders can do right now is make a plan to get the safe and effective vaccine as soon as it’s available to you. And as always: mask up, practice safe social distancing, and avoid indoor gatherings where COVID-19 can easily spread from person to person. We will eradicate this virus together.”
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS
“We have made some progress in our fight against this pandemic, and this was a historical week as we started to distribute life-saving vaccines. It is important that everyone continues to do their part. Start planning for when you will get a vaccine when it is available to you, and let’s avoid a surge in cases after the holidays by avoiding gatherings, wearing our masks, and continuing to socially distance.”
Previously, MDHHS had identified stabilization or declines in three metrics as critical for relaxing protocols. Michigan saw improvements across all three following the “pause” implemented in mid-November:
- Hospital capacity dedicated to COVID-19 patients:13-day decline; current capacity is at 17.3% for beds with COVID-19 patients. Peaked at 20.1% on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
- Overall case rates: 27-day decline; currently at 439 cases per million. Peaked at 739 cases per million on Saturday, Nov. 14.
- Positivity rate: 11-day decline; currently at 10.6% positive tests. Recently peaked at 14.3% on Friday, Dec. 4.
MDHHS Director Robert Gordon
“Michiganders should be proud: we have made incredible progress over the last month. But we could easily lose that progress and endanger our hospitals again over the next two weeks. At Thanksgiving, most Michiganders sacrificed and avoided family get-togethers. We need to do the same thing this holiday season. Then we can re-engage more activities sooner and more safely.”
Indoor residential gatherings remain limited to 10 people and two households. MDHHS continues to urge families to avoid indoor gatherings or to pick a single other household to interact with consistent with guidance already released by the department. Families are encouraged to stay home this holiday season to maintain the positive momentum that has developed and to protect loved ones. Families are also encouraged to Mask Up, Mask Right, using new guidance for what masks to wear and how to wear them.\