Sports return Phase One

Lejeune High School senior Darnell Collins, right, throws a pass during a preseason football practice in August, 2019. The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced on June 8 that member schools could resume individual skill development and workouts beginning June 15 if given permission by their local education agency. Workouts should adhere to Phase One of the NCHSAA’s guide to the reopening of sports and activities as well as any other health and safety precautions deemed necessary by the local superintendent and boards of education.

Local education agencies to determine when workouts resume

On June 8 the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) announced its current dead period will end on June 15 contingent upon each Local Education Agency okaying the notion. Superintendents and local Boards of Education, the NCHSAA said, “control when they will allow activities to resume.”

The NCHSAA also released part one of a three phased Summer Guide for the reopening of sports and activities. Phase One allows for individual skill development and workouts by implementing the guide’s policies, which include maintaining proper social distancing, cleaning procedures and health monitoring as well as barring physical contact, equipment sharing and grouping, among other rules.

The guide states workouts should be held in “pods of students with the same five to 10 students working out together weekly” in order to limit the risk of exposure to the virus and to enable better contact tracing if necessary. Locker rooms, weight rooms and wrestling mat rooms are to be closed during Phase One.

All coaches and students must be screened daily for symptoms, including temperature checks. Team travel will be prohibited in Phase One as well as spitting of any kind. Hand sanitizer “must be plentiful” and cleaning and disinfecting schedules “must be created and implemented for all athletic facilities,” according to the guide.

The length of workouts are limited to no more than 90 minutes. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people and capped at 10 for indoors with no spectators allowed at any session. Social distancing of six feet or more and the utilization of masks by coaches are also points of emphasis. Details for the other phases have not yet been released.

For the full guidance provided by the NCHSAA, including further guidelines, limitations, scenarios, protocols by sport and links to additional resources not mentioned in this article, visit www.nchsaa.org.

Please note that this article is a broad overview of the guidelines released by the NCHSAA and is not intended to be referenced as an all-inclusive list. Individuals should view the guide online for the official guidance.