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Green Bay, Appleton schools moving fall sports to spring

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American Football on the field with yard line and green grass(WDTV)
Published: Aug. 14, 2020 at 3:45 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 14, 2020 at 9:35 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Friday night lights won’t shine until next year for Appleton and Green Bay schools.

The Appleton Area School District is canceling fall sports for middle schools and moving high school sports to spring.

The Green Bay Area Public School District is moving middle and high school fall sports to the spring.

The following sports are affected by the decision:

  • Football
  • Cross-country
  • Girls golf
  • Girls swim and dive
  • Girls tennis
  • Boys volleyball
  • Girls volleyball
  • Boys soccer

Middle school sports canceled in Appleton include football, cross-country, softball and 8th grade girls volleyball.

Green Bay Superintendent Stephen Murley said these difficult changes are being made in hopes the spread of the coronavirus has slowed by next year.

The school district says the decision is based on the current spread of the coronavirus in the community and the school district’s ability to slow the spread of the disease among student-athletes and coaching staff. It’s also based on guidance from the state Department of Health and Human Services.

“This decision was not easy, but it was necessary for the safely and well-being of our student athletes,” Murley wrote in a statement. “Across the state in both high school and college athletics, there is an acknowledgement that mitigation efforts alone are not enough to stop the spread of COVID-19. In addition, there are troubling reports of athletes who have been infected with COVID-19 having ongoing health issues. Athletics are important to our students, their families, coaches and school communities. By moving fall athletics to the spring when we hope the activity level of COVID-19 will be greatly reduced, athletes will then be able to participate in the sports they love.”

The Appleton school district says it’s looking at other opportunities to offer middle school athletes since their seasons are canceled.

Kimberly and Bay Port high schools told Action 2 Sports reporter Dave Schroeder they still hope to play football in the fall despite losing some of the conference teams in the FRCC and VFA. Notre Dame Academy in Green Bay also said it’s committed to playing fall sports and will “adjust” with the news from the Green Bay school district.

Friday morning, the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA), which governs high school sports in the state, unanimously approved a shorter football season to start March 8 (see related story). The WIAA says student athletes could play in fall and spring sports simultaneously.

The WIAA also approved major changes so athletes can get more time in a game while facing shorting seasons and canceled competitions. These changes include a fifth quarter in football games and extra innings in baseball and softball for reserve players. Even teams eliminated from post-season tournaments could schedule additional games with other schools so athletes can continue to play.

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