With high school sports shifting from outdoors to gyms and indoor aquatic centers, Gwinnett County Public Schools released Wednesday its guidance for schools to provide a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The GCPS winter activities impacted by health guidelines during the winter season are basketball, sideline and spirit cheerleading, swimming and diving, wrestling and dance. The strictest guideline involves swimming and diving, which will not permit spectators at competitions, while the other will follow a stringent set of rules.
“The health and welfare of athletes and spectators remains a priority for the district, given the ongoing COVID-19 situation,” GCPS released in a statement. “With that in mind, the school district’s ability to continue with winter sports, which are primarily conducted indoors, presents particular challenges and will be determined in large part by Georgia High School Association rules and regulations, along with guidance from health partners. After consulting with county and state health officials, as well as GHSA officials, GCPS believes the following guidance will help to provide athletes and fans with a safer environment to participate in and watch high school sports. In addition to the steps Gwinnett schools are taking to address attendance, cleaning of locker rooms and facilities, and the flow of spectators within facilities and as they leave, the district reminds those in attendance of their personal responsibility to wear a mask and to follow social distancing protocols.”
The GCPS updated guidance includes online ticket sales through the GoFan app that will be capped at 150 spectators per event. Social distancing will be required among those spectators, while standing and loitering in common areas near gymnasiums before, during and after games is prohibited. Schools also will be encouraged to sell only drinks in concession stands using cashless options.
For tournaments, attendance also will be capped at 150 per game and gyms will be emptied between sessions — a session may include multiple games or matches, and a tournament may host a morning session and an evening session. Locker rooms and common areas will be cleaned following each contest, and adequate time will be provided between sessions for cleaning and crowd control. Spectators should not linger after events.
At all GCPS events, social distancing and masks are required. GCPS requires employees, students and visitors to school facilities to wear masks or cloth face coverings as a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when talking, coughing or sneezing. All face masks or face coverings should fully cover the nose and mouth, secure under the chin and fit securely against both sides of the face.