Santa Fe Indian School's Erin Miles blocks the ball in a 2019. The school announced Monday that because it is still closed over the pandemic that fall teams would not compete.

The lingering question whether Santa Fe Indian School would compete in athletics in the fall was answered Monday.

The answer is no.

SFIS officials told its volleyball and cross-country teams they will not compete in the fall season set to start Oct. 5.

In a joint letter from Superintendent Roy Herrera and athletic director Eric Brock to volleyball coach Brian Gurule and cross-country coach Joe Calabaza, they stated concerns over the COVID-19 epidemic. The letter also said the boarding school would remain closed.

The New Mexico Activities Association postponed the start of the fall season from August start to September and moved soccer and football to the spring. That left golf, cross-country and volleyball to play in fall.

Gurule said he understood the rationale.

“I’m just sad for my girls, but I respect the decision,” he said. “The safety of the kids and the staff is more important. I understand that.”

Brock said the school vacillated over the last few weeks as officials tried to come up with a plan to allow athletes on campus so they could play, but there was always a stumbling block. SFIS had until Sept. 21 to inform the NMAA of its intentions to play in those two sports.

Brock said the school made the decision now to allow students a chance to enroll at a public school in their districts if they want to compete in sports.

“Every time we came into a plan that we had figured out, something else would come up,” Brock said. “That would swing us over to the other side of the pendulum. Everything is so interconnected, from the dorms to the cafeteria to transportation. If you have one kid on campus, you might as well have 700.”

Last year, SFIS saw its volleyball team reach the state Class 3A Tournament, while the boys cross-country team took second in the 3A team standings. The girls finished fourth.

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