There’s finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
The Georgia High School Association announced Thursday that it will open up conditioning for its members schools on June 8, along with a list a guidelines for the reopening.
“The Georgia High School Association will open up conditioning for its member schools on June 8, 2020,” GHSA executive director Robin Hines said in a statement. “The plan is restrictive and provides for conditioning only. 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.
“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.”
Among the recommendations and restrictions included in the guidelines urge staff and athletes be screen prior to each workout — all of which are voluntary during the summer period and must be condition-based only with no balls or sport-specific equipment.
The GHSA still forbids the use of locker rooms or shower facilities, requiring athletes to report to the facility dressed for conditioning and shower at home. Groups of no more than 20, including coaches can participate in workouts per sport at any given time at campus/facility, and groups should remain the same for each session to limit risk of exposure.
Social distancing of six feet should be adhered to at all times, and there should be at least 15 minutes scheduled between each group to allow time for disinfecting.
Also required at each site is signage posted asking: 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?
In an attempt to limit exposure, students must use their own personal water bottles, and weight equipment must be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use of each student with hand sanitizer plentiful and readily available. Masks are also recommended in the weight room.
No visitors are currently allowed at conditioning sessions, and no competition is allowed between schools.
According to the director’s report, the GHSA Board of Trustees uniformly praised the outlined recommendations and restrictions.
The original target date was June 1, but some board members expressed concerns that it would be difficult for larger schools to be ready so quickly.
Hines’ statement wraps up stressing the importance of each level of school staff and administration working closely together to formulate a plan.
“Finally, ensure that your school and system leadership are aware of this guidance and have the opportunity provide input into your plan to move forward with conditioning and for preparing and maintaining your facilities,” the statement read. “Keep in mind that member schools may be more restrictive than the guidance but may not be less restrictive. There has never been a time more critical time for athletic departments, school administration, and system level administrators to work together.”
There have been no high school athletic practices or games in Glynn County since March 12, when the GHSA released a statement recommending its members postpone spring sports indefinitely due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.