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FAQ: How Colorado high school football plans to return amid the coronavirus pandemic

FAQ: How Colorado high school football plans to return amid
the coronavirus pandemic 1

Colorado high school football games start this week with uncertainty looming over the fall season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Below are answers to a few questions about the return of prep football in the state.

Q. I thought high school football got pushed to a spring season in Colorado. What happened?

A. The Colorado High School Activities Association, after initially moving prep football to spring, reversed course under new guidance from Gov. Jared Polis and state health authorities that raised the participation allowance to 50 players per roster for games. CHSAA is still offering a spring football season, but nearly 80% of schools across the state (218 total) will play this fall on a revised schedule. Teams cannot play in both seasons and separate state champions will be crowned for fall and spring.

Q. How will the new fall season be structured?

A. Many leagues have temporarily changed membership to accommodate schools that opted for spring football. Teams will play a six-game regular season with the top-eight schools in the CHSAA Seeding Index for each classification earning a spot in the playoffs. Teams that do not make the postseason have the option of playing a seventh game against another non-qualifier. The first round of the playoffs is scheduled for Nov. 20 with championship games played Dec. 5.

Q. What are teams doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19?

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A. State health guidelines mandate that players and coaches are symptom- and temperature-checked before all organized team activities. Masks are also required for coaches and players (when not wearing helmets). At practice, players are separated into small pods to limit contact between different position groups. At games, opposing teams will be socially distanced before and after kickoff with no traditional postgame handshake.

Q. Will fans be allowed into stadiums for games?

A. Yes, but attendance policies vary depending on local guidelines with some counties operating under different public health orders. The number of fans permitted to watch games range across the state between roughly 75 and 500, CHSAA assistant commissioner Adam Bright said. Stadiums are also expected to enforce social distancing measures with separate entrance/exit points and mask requirements.

Q. What happens if a player tests positive or is forced into quarantine because of contact tracing?

A. Schools on remote learning due to a COVID-19 outbreak are still eligible to play in games. However, athletic districts and local health authorities will call off games if a significant number of football players/coaches test positive or require a two-week quarantine amid possible exposure — like Mullen’s canceled season opener. Teams must complete at least nine practices before being eligible to play games.

Q. What happens if a team is unable to play their scheduled game due to COVID-19?

A. Games canceled because of coronavirus won’t be made up at a later date and will be counted as “no-contests” that do not impact a team’s final standing. Schools must play in at least four regular-season games to be eligible for the postseason.


Charting all 218 Colorado high schools that will play a fall football season in 2020 listed by classification and league. 

Class 5A

North: Fairview, Fossil Ridge, Horizon, Legacy, Poudre, Rocky Mountain, Prairie View

Jeffco: Arvada West, Columbine, Lakewood, Mullen, Pomona, Ralston Valley

South: Chaparral, Doherty, Douglas County, Legend, Pine Creek, Regis Jesuit

Douglas County: Castle View, Highlands Ranch, Mountain Vista, Rock Canyon, ThunderRidge, Valor Christian

Centennial: Arapahoe, Cherokee Trail, Cherry Creek, Eaglecrest, Grandview, Smoky Hill, Overland

Class 4A

Northern 1: Brighton, Broomfield, Eerie, Heritage, Silver Creek, Windsor

Northern 2: Greeley West, Greeley Central, Longmont, Loveland, Monarch, Skyline

Jeffco: Bear Creek, Chatfield, Dakota Ridge, Golden, Standley Lake, Wheat Ridge

Southern: Air Academy, Fountain-Fort Carson, Mesa Ridge, Pueblo West, Rampart, Vista Ridge

Western Slope: Cheyenne Mountain, Fruita Monument, Montrose, Grand Junction Central, Palmer Ridge, Ponderosa

I-25: Cheyenne Mountain, Coronado, Liberty, Palmer, Thornton, Widefield

Class 3A

Northern: Fort Morgan, Frederick, Mead, Mountain View, Northridge, Roosevelt, Thompson Valley

Colorado: Discovery Canyon, Holy Family, Lewis-Palmer, Lutheran, Mitchell, Niwot, Riverdale Ridge

South Central: Canon City, Durango, Pueblo Centennial, Pueblo Central, Pueblo County, Pueblo East, Pueblo South

Western Slope: Battle Mountain, Conifer, Eagle Valley, Evergreen, Green Mountain, Palisade, Summit

Class 2A

Patriot East: Brush, Eaton, Fort Lupton, Platte Valley, Sterling, Valley, Weld Central

Patriot West: Alameda International, Arvada, Berthoud, D’Evelyn, Resurrection Christian, Severance, University

West: Delta, Elizabeth, Englewood, Middle Park, Moffat County, Woodland Park

Southwest: Alamosa, Bayfield, La Junta, Lamar, Manitou Springs, Pagosa Springs

Class 1A

North Central: Holyoke, Wray, Yuma, Burlington, Wiggins, Limon, Highland

Foothills: Jefferson, The Pinnacle, Bennett, Platte Canyon, Strasburg Prospect Ridge Academy, Banning Lewis Prep

Western Slope: Olathe, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Cedaredge, Gunnison, Meeker

Southern Peaks: Dolores, Ignacio, Center, Monte Vista, Centauri, Del Norte

Tri-Peaks: Florence, Rye, Colorado Springs Christian, Rocky Ford, Peyton, Trinidad


Arkansas Valley: Fowler, Holly, Crowley County, McClave, Springfield, Wiley

Plains: Akron, Caliche, Dayspring Christian Academy, Haxtun, Merino, Sedgwick County

Mountain: Dove Creek, Mancos, Norwood, Sanford, Sangre de Cristo, Sargent

Southern: Pikes Peak Christian, Simla, Swink, Dolores Huerta Prep, Calhan

Northwest: Gilpin County, Hayden, Rangely, Soroco, West Grand, Vail Christian

Central: Lyons, Elbert, South Park, Byers, Denver Christian


North: Briggsdale, Fleming, North Park, Peetz, Prairie

Northeast: Arickaree/Woodlin, Flagler, Idalia, Otis, Weldon Valley

Central: Kiowa, Deer Trail, Hanover, Genoa-Hugo, Miami-Yoder

East: Hi-Plains, Stratton/Liberty, Cheyenne Wells, Kit Carson, Eads

Southeast: Manzanola, Cheraw, Granada, Walsh, Branson/Kim

Southwest: Cotopaxi, La Veta, Sierra Grande, Mountain Valley, Cripple Creek-Victor

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