Georgia High School’s have been given the nod to resume off season workouts starting June 8th. The GHSA held a meeting last week and voted to push back the original start date they had agreed upon, moving things a week back from the 1st to the 8th. The meeting was held electronically and was broadcast on the NFHS network.
“These kids have already been away from their fellow students for two-and-a-half months. They’ve already missed proms and honors nights. They’re ready to get back, and that’s been made clear to me from the hundreds of emails I’ve gotten from parents saying, ‘Please let our kids get going.’ It is time to get going” Executive Director Robin Hines said during the meeting.
Many of the GHSA board members were concerned that teams would feel rushed to get back out there and start back without being fully prepared, which warranted the opening date being pushed back to the 8th. Hines also hammered the point home that these would all be voluntary conditioning workouts only, with no bats or balls permitted.
The GHSA also released guidelines for schools to follow which can be found here.
A few of the main recommendations and restrictions include:
- Member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning.
- Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Students or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance.
- There is no competition allowed between schools.
- Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended for the weight room.
- No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.
- Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains.
- It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout.
Georgia’s official sports seasons wont start until mandatory practices begin, which as of now is set for July 27th for football and August 1st for all other sports.
Thursday the GHSA released a statement clarifying some of the guidelines.
- Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus/facility. Campus/facility denote the buildings and contiguous property surrounding the buildings. You cannot have a group from one sport in the weight room and another from the same sport on a field on the same campus. This includes adjacent middle school properties. If your middle school that feeds the high school is on an entirely different campus/facility, a second group from the same sport could condition at that location as well following the same guidelines. Multiple sport conditioning groups should be scheduled with staggered starting and ending time to prevent large gatherings before and after workouts.
- Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Students or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance. Athletic Directors and Head Coaches are allowed to monitor all workouts. Schools that employ a Strength and Conditioning coach may use that individual to direct all workouts. These individuals count in the group limit of 20 persons. Social distancing, hand washing/sanitizer are stressed and masks/face coverings for these individuals is highly recommended. Groups should be consistent from workout to workout. If there are multiple-sport athletes, one conditioning group should be selected and adhered to for the duration of this guidance. There should be no student athlete in multiple conditioning groups.
Hines included in this release that he fully expects for these guidelines to change over time but they must be implemented for at least the first week of the students’ return to workouts, as a focus on conditioning instead of sport-specific skills will help reduce risk and help everyone ease back into things.