KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Lori Thomas, commissioner for the Heart of America Athletic Conference, recently announced the league’s return-to-play intentions for the 2021-22 academic year.
Culver-Stockton College in Canton is one of 14 member schools the conference, which will return to a full schedule in the upcoming year. The fall 2021 slate will kick off in August. All postseason competitions will return to their normal time frame for the fall, winter and spring sports.
The league is no longer imposing restrictions related to spectator protocols and attendance at the conference level. All decisions regarding spectator protocols, capacity limitations and masking requirements will be managed and controlled at the institutional levels in conjunction with local and state guidelines.
“The goal is to conduct a normal and full season this upcoming year,” Thomas said. “If we want to see a season without a lot of stops and starts, vaccinations are going to be key. As we finalize protocols, those who are vaccinated will not face the same requirements around contact tracing, testing, quarantining, social distancing and face coverings as those who are not vaccinated.”
In April 2020, a 22-member task force developed the “Heart Promise,” an agreement between the 14 institutions to follow the same guidelines and restrictions to allow competitions to take place during the 2020-21 season. The Heart crowned 22 postseason event and tournament champions last year.
“The Heart Council of Presidents wants to thank each of you for the incredible amount of time and compassion you put into developing the procedures and protocols,” said Pat Draves, president of Graceland University and chair of the Council of Presidents, in recognizing the task force. “Through your work, we were able to offer student-athletes and coaches the opportunity to do what they love — compete.”
“We are so proud of all that our student-athletes, coaches and administrators were able to accomplish this past year,” Thomas said. “We are looking forward to returning to a full slate of competition heading into fall 2021 with the safest return-to-play tactics in mind.”
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