Recommended Guidelines for Return to Activity

AIA's Executive Board has endorsed guidelines for the return to sport and activity for competition in the winter.

Seth Polansky
Sports Information Coordinator

Statement and clarification for winter sports guidelines in the 2020-21 school year

December 7, 2020 by Seth Polansky, AZPreps365


PHOENIX, AZ (December 7, 2020) - In an attempt to keep Arizona high school students in school and actively able to participate in winter sports, the Arizona Interscholastic Association, in partnership with its member schools and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), have developed a series of sport-specific modifications. You may find detailed changes here. These modifications’ primary objective is to safely allow students an opportunity to continue to play while minimizing exposure to COVID-19.  While it is impossible to reduce all risk of exposure in any environment, these modifications seek to limit risk as much as possible.  

Joe Paddock, Associate Executive Director, explains, “We look forward to things getting back to normal, but until that happens, we are focused on keeping kids in school and on the playing field. Like most parents and member schools, we want to avoid another disruptive shutdown. These modifications are designed to support that effort.”  

  • The season of competition begins, without exception, on Jan. 5, 2021. 

  • To prevent an excess risk of exposure for students participating in sports outside of their school team/cohort, they are asked to not participate in any club games, invitationals or tournaments that would exponentially increase their risk exposure to their school team. Students may practice with a non-school club as this is a limited number of people they would contact.  

  • If a student-athlete or coach chooses to play/coach in a scrimmage, game or tournament with a non-school team or group, a 14-day exclusion from the school team goes into effect. This 14-day exclusion applies if the student-athlete or coach is a high school winter sport member AND competes with the non-school team in the same or different sport.

These modifications and 14-day exclusions are not meant to be penalties but simply to help reduce possible COVID-19 exposure to student-athletes and community spread, while participating in AIA sanctioned sports and activities.  

The AIA’s primary goal is to maintain in-person learning and avoid further restrictions that may result from another spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Let’s keep Arizona high school students playing safely!