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MAIS providing guidance on how sports will restart

The Mid-South Association of Independent Schools is working alongside its member schools to determine how to safely proceed with the resumption of athletic activities.

The MAIS made the decision to halt athletic activities on April 28 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in recent weeks some schools have made the decision to let athletes get back to practice.

Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi all have schools that are part of the MAIS, so the organization has refrained from making too many overarching decisions because each state has its own set of guidelines and rules when it comes to reopening.

Not only would it be nearly impossible to pass legislation that adhered to the guidelines in all four states, but it would also remove the ability of administration at each school to make decisions for themselves.

“We just leave it up to each school and they have to stay in tune with their governor’s orders. We want to keep the independent school concept alive,” Director of Activities Les Triplett said. Triplett said the organization is operating under the impression that the fall seasons will proceed as originally planned, but that doesn’t mean the MAIS isn’t ready to adapt if necessary to any changes that occur due to the pandemic.

The organization has stayed abreast of what the Mississippi High School Activities Association is doing regarding the resumption of sports as well to make sure member schools aren’t left with different guidelines than public education institutions in Mississippi.

“It’s imperative to stay in step with the MHSAA because we have schools competing against (schools under their jurisdiction),” Triplett said.  MAIS member school administrations know what guidelines are in place and how to follow them.

Triplett said the rules are similar to others being implemented by sporting organizations, and reflect each school’s ability to restart while still keeping the athletes safe.

“We put it out for our schools for a couple of days and it’s pretty much in line with what other schools are doing. You don’t have to have a ton of resources to take a temperature,” Triplett said.

While there is a little more freedom for member schools of the MAIS to determine their best course of action, there’s also specific restrictions put in place by state governments.

The best way to proceed is unknown and uncertainty abounds as organizations search for the best way to restart athletic activities. Still, there’s hope for sports to resume and the MAIS is hoping to help its schools reopen in the safest way possible. “We’re not dictatorial saying they have to do (a wide range of specific things), but there are guidelines and safe practices. The goal is to be able to use those and be safer,” Triplett said.