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Interior Youth Basketball await Fairbanks Borough’s decision on building rentals

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 5:11 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On Monday, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District (FNSBSD) announced their plans to allow students back into the schools next semester. With the borough allowing students back into the buildings, it begins to bring up discussions of other youth programs in the area such as Interior Youth Basketball (IYB).

According to IYB Program Coordinator Kathy Fitzgerald, they are awaiting a decision to come from the FNSBSD and the building rentals department on allowing programs back in.

“Once they allow students back into the buildings then from what I’m understand that’s going to be the next step. The school board would look at how many users are planning to have reservations already and how many schools would be available,” said IYB Program Coordinator Fitzgerald. “Our program relies on using a little over 100 hours of gym time every week, Monday through Thursday. If there are buildings that have occupied gym space to social distance for certain classrooms there might not be some schools available we normally have. We have to wait and see on what they allow and how many kids that we would be allowed or permitted to have in the program depending on the space available.”

Since the COVID-19 global pandemic shut down many programs in March and throughout the summer, organizations like IYB were put on the back burner. Since then, many programs have been in limbo caught between trying to start up and having to cancel their seasons. On the high school level, cross country running made it through their championships while football and volleyball had no conclusions for their schedules. According to Fitzgerald, they have been monitoring the situation on regards to the borough’s plans for the schools they play at.

“Getting kids back out playing basketball,” said Fitzgerald. “They are really anxious to play and as an organizations we are going to try and get behind as many people that are willing to participate, that’s what we’re here for. There is a large segment out there so just getting kids out there to play basketball again and getting them active. I think it’s important if the school board does decide to allow building rentals if they prioritize our youth organizations first. I already spoke to them in a testimony back in July asking if that were the case to prioritize our youth organizations so that our kids can get back out and getting into some healthy activities.”

IYB also has an approved COVID-mitigation plan with contact tracing forms and questions. If there are positive cases then they would take it as a case-by-case and team-by-team basis. Fitzgerald did note that they haven’t had any activity to test their plans out, but she said they have looked at other programs that have used the same models. Fitzgerald says that IYB on average haas 800 kids in the system and over 100 teams competing from kindergarten to 12th grade.

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