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The Buena Vista High School Demons will begin practice for Season B sports on Jan. 18, said district superintendent Lisa Yates.

Last week, the Colorado High School Activities Association secured variances with the Colorado Department of Public Health and state officials that would allow sports and activities to begin practice on the 18th. Before this change, season B was originally proposed to begin on Jan. 4, then was pushed back to Feb. 1.

“We will start practices when allowed, Jan. 18. We will continue with our voluntary ‘workouts’ that have been in place all fall, which have been reviewed by CCPH,” Yates said. “We will adjust as needed once we are back in session in January and can monitor the transmission in the school community. CHSAA and CCPH will be references for us.”

Yates said that, in addition to standard COVID-19 safety protocols like wearing masks when not actively participating, sanitizing equipment and screening for symptoms, the workouts are restricted to 10 in a cohort, dividing gym space in half and using the weight rooms and wrestling rooms for additional space.

“We have always alternated practices times so each team has dedicated practice time and will continue to do so this season,” Yates said.

The Demons’ B season sports include boys and girls basketball, wrestling and spirit.

Under the current dial levels, CHSAA-sponsored events could not be conducted due to public health restrictions at the state level that limited the number of athletes to practice or compete in a facility.

For example, the current guidelines only allow basketball to have 10 total individuals, including coaches, athletes, trainers, etc., in a gym.

Therefore, variance approval from CDPHE and state officials were critical to begin any sport or activity.

For example, the basketball variance will permit teams to have 24 players total, as well as coaches and trainers.

Approval of these variances allows for statewide consistency and sustainability of competition when diverse local health interpretations could restrict member participation regionally.

“We’re all in this together,” said Rhonda Blanford-Greene, the CHSAA commissioner, in a news release. “Our state officials, especially CDPHE, have a responsibility to prioritize student safety.

“We appreciate their support and advocacy for resuming athletics and activities for the state of Colorado in 2021.”

The CHSAA administrative staff has planned a series of virtual meetings for athletic directors and coaches to provide details on the implementation of each sport. These meetings will begin on Jan. 4.

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