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Albert Lea high school sports put on hold for one week

Shortly after the announcement came that due to an increase in COVID-19 cases Albert Lea High School would be moving to online-only instruction starting Friday until at least next Friday, the high school sports teams were informed they would be put on hiatus for the time being as well.

Effective Friday, Albert Lea’s boys’ and girls’ cross country teams, boys’ and girls’ soccer teams, the girls’ tennis team and the  girls’ swim and dive would no longer be able to hold practices or participate in games or meets until at least next Friday.

According to Albert Lea activities director Paul Durbahn, coaches from those teams will be allowed to have contact with their athletes, but through virtual means only.

Durbahn said the district staff will meet again Thursday to determine what will be best for the district moving forward. He said there was no specific threshold they would be required to meet, but they want to make sure things are under control and to make sure there is no increased risk to students, staff or the community.

“It’s important for our community to know that most of the cases stem from out-of-school gatherings, and we are putting structures in place at the school and within our programs to help ensure or minimize risk,” Durbahn said. “We are confident our schools will continue to be a safe place when they reopen. I hope we can all accept this pause, reflect a little about our current situation and do what’s best for Albert Lea.”

According to the school’s online calendar, both soccer teams were forced to postpone three games, the tennis team  postponed two meets and the swim and dive team postponed one.

Durbahn is hopeful that much of those competitions will be able to be made up, but with the already tight schedules due to the pandemic, some of them may not find a new date.

“I think the underlying message from all this is that regardless of a person’s situation or political view, we need our athletes and families to act on what’s best for our community,” Durbahn said. “One of our core values in our activities department is ‘love of community.’ We’ve now learned how fast COVID-19 can creep up and we all — coaches, students, administration, families and community members — contribute to our ability to provide opportunities.”

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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