Georgia’s teenage athletes can resume conditioning at their high schools beginning June 8, the Georgia High School Association’s Board of Trustees confirmed in a Thursday meeting.
The GHSA released its guidance for a return to conditioning on June 8 with a number of recommendations and restrictions, which allow individual school systems to be more restrictive for summer sessions if they deem it necessary. GHSA member schools are not permitted to be less restrictive than the GHSA guidelines for coronavirus prevention.
“As the data related to COVID-19 continues to improve, restrictions may be reduced after input from our health care professionals and guidance from our Governor,” GHSA executive director Robin Hines told member schools in an announcement. “Please make every effort to follow the recommendations and restrictions included in the guidance provided. As you return to conditioning, keep in mind that the majority of your athletes have deconditioned the past two months and need to work into what would be normal for this time of year. Reduce the work and gradually increase the workouts with time.”
Hines originally discussed a date of June 1 for conditioning sessions, but the trustees decided it was too quick to turn around for larger school systems.
“I don’t have any problems with the plan itself,” said Curt Miller of Henry County Schools. “It’s the June 1 date. If we could just push that back a week, it would make things easier on the larger systems.”
Steven Craft of Fulton County Schools, Jasper Jewell of Atlanta Public Schools and others agreed that a June 8 date worked better than June 1.
“I’m fine with the June 1 date, but if moving it to June 8 will help our larger systems get things in place and make it safer for our kids and coaches, then I have no problem with that,” GHSA Board of Trustees president Glenn White said.
The organization also outlined specific recommendations and restrictions for its member schools, including the following:
• All summer work is voluntary
• Workouts are conditioning only, no balls or sport specific equipment
• Member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning
• It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout
• Signage should be posted on site with the following questions — Do you or have you had a fever in the last week? Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19? Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19? Have you traveled to a hot spot for COVID-19?
• Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus/facility
• Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Student or coaches cannot change groups for the duration of this guidance.
• No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.
• Weight equipment should be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student
• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and readily available.
• Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains or “water cows” is allowed.
• Side spots only in weight training, safety bars are preferred.
• Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended in the weight room.
• At least 15 minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility.
• There is no competition allowed between schools.
• No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions.