Cherokee Trail’s Sam Hart, right, celebrates with teammates after a defensive stand in a 2019 game against Rock Canyon. Prep football may be back in the fall after Gov. Jared Polis’ office approved the Colorado High School Activities Association’s request for variances for football, field hockey, cheer and dance. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday evening that his office had conditionally approved variance requests from the Colorado High School Activities Association to add to its current group of Season A fall sports and activities offerings.

Football — which has been hotly debated for the last week — is in the plan given the OK from Polis’ COVID-19 Response Team, along with field hockey, cheer and dance, though requests for variances for the other fall sports “remain under consideration.” Polis’ statement said that schools will have the right to have those sports and activities in Season C (the spring) if it so chooses.

The CHSAA Board of Directors, which voted unanimously a week earlier not to make any changes to Season A, voted 12-3 to allow “schools the opportunity to choose to play fall seasons for football, field hockey and sideline spirit, beginning later this month. Schools will have the opportunity to play in Season A or Season C,” according to a tweet from CHSAANow.com Director of Digital Media Ryan Casey.

CHSAA later issued a statement, saying that Seasons A and C will be “treated equitably.”

“I want to thank my colleagues on the Board,” Troy Baker, the president of the Board of Directors and the athletic director at Buena Vista High School said in a press release. “The CHSAA Board is charged to make the best decision for all kids in our state. We are a diverse state and many of our schools are faced with unique challenges that can elevate the complexity in making a decision that supports all schools and students.

“We are in a pandemic,” Baker said. “It’s not normal times. We’re all trying to find a way to navigate through it, with the hope of trying to find some normalcy in our lives. There isn’t a guide of how to do this.”

A few hours earlier, Polis got the ball rolling with his press release, which read: “We have worked closely with CHSAA to approve their request, issue guidelines and assist in creating a process that supports a return to football, field hockey and cheer.

“If the CHSAA board decides to add these sports to their fall calendars, it will be up to local school districts, administrators and parents to choose what is right for their communities. The state has approved these requests in order to empower all schools to make the choice that is right for them and their student athletes.”

Earlier in the day, Denver Public Schools put out a statement that requested that CHSAA keep its original calendar put out on Aug. 4 — which moved football to Season C, with practices beginning on Feb. 22, 2021 — as it had created a “strategic and incremental plan that aligned with local health guidelines and gradually returned our student athletes to conditioning activities and eventual participation in their CHSAA season.”

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports