Omaha Public Schools announced it will suspend fall sports during the first quarter of the upcoming school year.
The announcement paired with the district's decision to go to remote learning for all students.
"During our time in the 100% Remote Learning Instructional Model, all activities and athletics will be suspended," OPS said in a statement. "We understand the important role extra-curricular activities play in a student's experience. This suspension is for the health and safety of everyone."
OPS schools include Omaha Benson, Omaha Bryan, Omaha Burke, Omaha Central, Omaha North, Omaha Northwest and Omaha South.
The announcement comes three days before the official start of practice for fall activities, and four days after the NSAA said it will not alter its transfer rules.
"We will continue to work with the Douglas County Health Department and other state and local officials to regularly evaluate the health conditions in our community," OPS stated. "If we are able to transition back to the Family 3/2 Model or 100% in-person learning, we will communicate that to staff and families."
The second quarter for OPS will begin Oct. 26. Only football and volleyball go beyond that date, and both activities will be in postseason play at that point in the athletic calendar.
Prior to Friday's announcement, many parents and players had been vocal about keeping fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Deshawn Woods, a standout player at Omaha Central who is receiving Division I college interest, started a petition to reinstate fall sports. By Friday afternoon it had nearly 1,000 signatures.
Another Division I football prospect, Micah Riley at Bellevue West, voiced his opinion on social media Friday.
"I'm not a student in OPS but I have a voice and I use it!" Riley tweeted. "You the superintendent failed your student athletes! It might not be a big deal (to) you but for lots of kids it feels like it's all they have. (You're) not giving them a chance (to) do what they love."
Omaha Public Schools' decision will lead to a ripple effect in Class A, primarily with schedules and district assignments.
Six Lincoln schools will be looking for new football opponents to fill out nine-game schedules.
Lincoln Southwest, originally set to play four OPS schools, will be affected the most in football.
* Lincoln East (zero OPS opponents).
* Lincoln High (three): Omaha Bryan (Sept. 4), Omaha Central (Sept. 18), Omaha Northwest (Oct. 16).
* Lincoln North Star (one): Omaha North (Oct. 23).
* Lincoln Northeast (one): Omaha Northwest (Sept. 4).
* Lincoln Pius X (one): Omaha North (Oct. 9).
* Lincoln Southeast (one): Omaha North (Aug. 28).
* Lincoln Southwest (four): Omaha North (Sept. 11), Omaha South (Oct. 2), Omaha Burke (Oct. 16), Omaha Central (Oct. 23).
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