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BOONE, Iowa — The Iowa High School Athletic Association announced Friday fall sports will begin as scheduled.

First practices for football, cross country and Class 4A golf are set to begin Aug. 10. Golf competitions start on Aug. 13. Cross country races begin Aug. 24. The first football games begin Aug. 27. 

The association will release guidelines for each sport the week of July 27. 

“The health and safety of student-athletes and their communities has been our priority as we work to provide opportunities during this pandemic, and will remain so as we move forward into the 2020-21 school year. We will continue to work with our partners at NFHS, IATS, and with the Iowa state government to develop protocols and sport-specific guidance, and will adjust as necessary,” IHSAA said in a statement.

The announcement comes as COVID-19 cases have consistently climbed in Iowa over the past few weeks (see graph below). 

Positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa to date (as of July 18 at 6:30 p.m.)

Iowa was recently included among 18 states in the coronavirus “red zone” for cases, according to an unpublished document prepared for the White House Coronavirus Task Force obtained by the Center for Public Integrity. These states are recommended to revert to more strict protective measures to slow the spread of COVID-19. The document recommends public officials close bars, limit social gatherings to ten people or fewer and require residents to wear masks in public. 

To be in the red zone, the states had more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population last week, according to the Center for Public Integrity. 

Back on June 15, Iowa was the first state to resume sanctioned high school sports since the COVID-19 shutdown began. Since then, multiple teams abruptly ended their seasons due to COVID-19. The top-ranked Dowling Catholic baseball team ended its season early after a coach tested positive for the virus. Most recently, the Knoxville baseball team canceled the rest of its season due to a positive case within its program. 

IHSAA COVID-19 related withdrawals from postseason: 

  • Class 4A: Council Bluffs, Thomas Jefferson; Dowling Catholic, W.D.M.; Dubuque, Senior; Muscatine; Southeast Polk
  • Class 3A: Knoxville
  • Class 2A: Sibley-Ocheyedan
  • Class 1A: BCLUW, Conrad; North Butler, Greene; North Tama, Traer; Northwood-Kensett; St. Mary’s, Storm Lake; Turkey Valley, Jackson Junction