Football contact days look different ahead of tenuous seasonSubmitted: 07/26/2020
Andrew Goldstein
Andrew Goldstein
Sports Anchor/Reporter

Football contact days look different ahead of tenuous season
If not for the masks, you wouldn't even know there was anything different.

"Everyone was just flying around, screaming, yelling, it was awesome," said senior Erik Albertus. "Everyone was just super excited to be out here."

This year's Lakeland Union pride camp was more than just a chance for everyone to get back on the field.

It was also a brief respite before a month and a half more of no football.

"It's actually really upbeat and there's a lot of high energy still," said senior Barron Lenz. "We've just been making the most out of the situation we've been handed."

The Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association's board of control allowed fall sports to go forward, but pushed the start date of high-risk sports like football back to the week of September 7, making an already strange season even more unusual.

"We haven't been able to go live against each other or wear any equipment," Lenz said. "Its been tough to figure out where guys are actually going to be."

Just because fall sports are allowed, doesn't mean that Lakeland is going to play.

District policies and COVID conditions will still determine if and how a season happens.

"If there's a way we can play football in the fall and do it safely and responsibly, then I'm all for it," said head coach Dan Barutha. "Depending on what the scenario is, if we need to move it to the spring and that's the only way to play, I'm fine moving it."

For now, the T-Birds are just happy to be on the same field and doing everything they can to make sure it happens again.

"Everybody's on board with it," Albertus said. "Everybody wants to have a season, so everybody's doing whatever it takes, their own part to have everyone healthy and ready to go."

The first game of the high school football season is scheduled for the week of September 20.

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Their Facebook page says the park is trying to keep their guests, employees and the Dells community safe from COVID-19.

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The water park will use the remainder of this year to prepare for the 2021 season.

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Students and parents have been patiently waiting to hear from local school districts on what classes will look like in the fall.

Last night, the Three Lakes School District flipped the script, they instead took questions from community members to hear their concerns.

Educating is a stressful job, now imagine trying to plan a school year around a global pandemic, and combine that with answering questions from nearly 130 parents in one night. That's a day in Teri Maney's shoes.

"It was truly a listening session...this was laying the groundwork so people have an idea of what we're planning and thinking about at the district," Maney said. 

 Those plans primarily aim to have students back in the classroom full time.

 "That would be our goal to return on site five days a week," she added. 

But with COVID-19 showing no signs of letting up in the U.S. backup plans will be in place for any changes.

"Our next level would be a blended approach," Maney added, "We're keeping our primary focus on elementary students being on site and that might mean for our junior high and high school, a little shift of scheduling."

Three Lakes would then approach any positive cases in the district through guidelines from Oneida and Vilas county health officials.

"We also have a plan for if we would have a positive identification in a grade level, or a teacher, or if there's a teacher. We would not want to shut down the entire district," Maney explained. 

But if things don't go as planned, Three Lakes will be fully prepared for online classes.

"The last level, level four, that would be fully remote instruction."

The school board will vote on Monday night at 6:30 whether or not they will continue with the district's plan. 

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