The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) released a 16-page document on Tuesday recommending how to carefully “open up” athletics and activities for member schools amid the fluid state of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee endorses a three-phase plan as the most effective way to integrate sports back into student life.
Some highlights from each phase:
* Athletes and coaches are to be screened before each workout, including temperature check.
* There should be no gatherings of 10 or more people, inside or outside.
* There should be no locker room usage.
* Workouts should consist of the same pod of five to 10 students – with proper social-distancing of at least 6 feet between all athletes and coaches.
* Athletes and coaches should wash their hands a minimum of 20 seconds, and should utilize hand sanitizer whenever possible.
* Students should be encouraged to go directly home after a workout and wash their clothes and gear.
* There should be no shared athletic equipment or apparel among students, including towels and water bottles.
* There should be no sharing of a single ball (basketball, football, soccer ball, volleyball, baseball, softball) among players in a team workout or drill.
* No water-drinking stations will be utilized.
Keep Phase I recommendations in mind, with these amendments:
* There should be no gatherings of 10 or more people inside, but it increases to a maximum of 50 outdoors.
*Minimal usage of locker rooms allowed, keeping in mind 6 feet of social distancing between athletes and coaches.
*Lower-risk sports such as individual running events, throwing events, individual swimming events, golf, weightlifting, alpine skiing, sideline cheerleading, single sculling and cross country can resume full practices and competitions.
*Modified practices for moderate-risk sports such as basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, water polo, gymnastics, ice hockey, field hockey, tennis, swimming relays, pole vault, high jump, long jump, girls lacrosse, crew with two or more rowers and 7-v-7 football will be allowed.
Keep previous recommendations in mind, with these amendments:
*No more daily screenings with temperature checks. Any person with a fever or cold symptoms in the past 24 hours should not practice and instead seek doctor’s care.
*Gatherings of up to 50 athletes and coaches are allowed, indoors and outdoors.
*Social distancing is reduced to a range of 3 to 6 feet.
*Moderate-risk sports can hold full practices and competitions.
*Modified practices for high-risk sports such as wrestling, football, boys lacrosse and competitive cheer and dance will be allowed.
WHO ATTENDS GAMES?
In terms of who is allowed to attend competitions, the NFHS breaks that down in three different tiers.
Tier 1, the essential people, are athletes, coaches, officials, event staff, medical staff and security.
Tier 2 is media.
Tier 3, the non-essential people, are spectators and vendors.