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Athletes from Gwinnett County Public Schools can return to on-campus training June 8, the date set by the Georgia High School Association for reopening from the coronavirus pandemic break.

GCPS distributed an informational packet, its Guidance for Return to Athletic Conditioning, to high school athletic departments in advance of its Phase 1 of reopening that begins June 8. Each GCPS high school will work with the district guidelines and develop an individual plan that works best for their program and facilities.

The conditioning sessions are permitted Monday through Thursday with all GCPS schools closed on Friday.

The GHSA announced May 21 that it would allow on-campus conditioning to resume June 8. The first stage only permits conditioning (no balls or sports-specific equipment), is voluntary and must follow a set of safety guidelines set forth by the organization.

Schools have the option to be more strict with their plans, the GHSA said, but they cannot be more lenient.

“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 the May 21 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.”

The GHSA will provide updates when activities other than conditioning are allowed.

The GCPS Phase 1 plan follows the GHSA guidelines and directs its schools’ athletic directors and athletic trainers to work out a plan for fall sports only to work out on campus. Workout sessions are limited to 20 people, including coaches, and each workout group must have the same people throughout Phase 1. The school must devise a schedule that allows time between group sessions — at least 30 minutes for temperature screening and at least 15 minutes for cleaning.

Other GCPS and GHSA guidelines include no use of locker rooms or showers, weight room cleaning while in use (between sets of each athlete), social distancing and the encouragement of wearing masks (though not mandatory). Athletes are required to bring their own water bottles and towels are not allowed.

Individual schools will be responsible for additional details like storage of students’ phones and personal items and the setup of drop-off and pick-up areas athletes’ arrivals and departures.

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