Snow bursts dusted metro area lawns Thursday, liquefied soon after by appearances of a strong April sun in an example of uncertain Minnesota spring weather.
High school administrators waiting to resume spring sports can relate. More than 200 of them took part Thursday morning in a video conference call created by the Minnesota State High School League in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league’s new L.E.A.D. Network, which stands for leadership, education, administration and development, provides weekly outreach to member schools. The sessions are designed to quell angst by giving school administrators, region secretaries and activities directors a place to meet, hear from league staff and post questions.
League staff will review the questions, which on Thursday numbered in the dozens, and formulate responses for delivery on Monday.
Since March 25, spring sports have been on hold as all Minnesota schools remain closed in favor of distance learning until May 4. The league has followed the lead of Gov. Tim Walz, who said on Wednesday that the state is “unlikely’’ to reopen schools this year but he “wouldn’t close the door 100%.”
“People want answers from you just like they want answers from us,” league Executive Director Erich Martens told video conference attendees Thursday. “But they are not always available.”
The inaugural L.E.A.D. Network meeting offered no signals on the fate of spring sports. Martens said Wednesday that the league has not set a point of no return date for spring sports.
The first spring section tournaments are currently scheduled for the week of May 11. The last of the state tournaments are scheduled to end June 13.
During the video call, participants submitted questions through a chat function. A variation on two questions summarized the theme of concerns for school leadership: If there is an abbreviated spring season, what effect does this have on individual schools as well as schools throughout Minnesota?
In addition, the league fielded questions on summer-related activities: school weight rooms, and whether two no-contact periods, the week of July 4, and from Aug. 1 until the start of fall sports on Aug. 17, could be made available should the spring season run later.
“We recognize that working with unknowns and a great level of uncertainty is very difficult and can be very frustrating for everyone,” Martens said. “Our schools have been asking that we keep our options open and the students and families that contact us are also hopeful that some type of a season may be possible.”