On Thursday, the Georgia High School Association gave the green light for high school sports activities to resume on Monday, June 8. However, those activities will be limited to conditioning only.
The restrictions include a group limit of 20 athletes and coaches for an on-campus workout. Participants must maintain social distancing practices at all times and masks/face coverings will be recommended.
The GHSA also recommended screening athletes and coaches prior to workouts regarding their health.
According to the guidelines, detailed signage should be posted 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?
Weight training equipment and rooms must be sanitized before and after use. The new guidelines state there will be no use of locker rooms or showers, student-athletes must have their own water bottles and hand sanitizer should be available.
There is to be no competition between schools and no visitors will be allowed at conditioning sessions. GHSA-member schools are allowed to be more restrictive if they choose to do so, but not less.
During the virtual meeting, Monday, June 1, was discussed as a possible restart date, but several members of the GHSA Board of Trustees, including Steven Craft (Fulton County Schools), Jasper Jewell (Atlanta Public Schools) and Curt Miller (Henry County Schools), noted difficulty for larger school systems to be prepared by June 1. The board decided to move the start date back one week to June 8, allowing larger school systems to get plans in place.
As of now, there have been no changes to the official start of practices, which are set to begin July 27 for football and Aug. 1 for other fall sports.
Here are what some of the local coaches had to say ...
“We’re going to do it the best way we see fit to keep our kids safe,” Sonoraville Football head coach Denver Pate said in a phone interview. “My original thought process was July 6 would be the day that they let us get back together. Being able to work in June, you take it as a plus and you just do what you can to try to get these kids back into it a little bit of shape and try to get them back in the weight room and get a little bit stronger.”
“I am ecstatic that the GHSA is giving the green light to get back in the gym,” Calhoun Volleyball head coach Nic Hann said via text message. “I know every coach and athlete are ready to get back to work, but I am extremely excited since I will get to start working with my new team for the first time. We will have a virtual team meeting next week to discuss what the new policies mean for our program, and then we will prepare to get started with conditioning sessions in a few weeks.”
“I’m excited because we’re all ready and we’ll take all the precautions and everything they’ve asked us to do,” Calhoun Softball head coach Diane Smith said in a phone interview. “The girls are itching; they’re ready to get started. They’re used to playing all summer and they haven’t been getting to play, so I hope they’re going to come out ready to go. I think they will. This looks like it’s going to be a good year for us.”
“We are about as excited as everybody else,” Gordon Central Football head coach T.J. Hamilton said in a phone interview. “We are going to start June 8. There’s different protocols we’re going to have to abide by, but as far as getting these guys back out on the field and running around a little bit, just being around them is what’s going to be different and it’s what we have been missing as a staff. We’ve just missed that brotherhood and all that camaraderie you get being around the guys and building the relationship with the team. There are a couple of plans in place, but as of right now, we’re still kind of up in the air. We’re kind of leaning toward different groupings at different times of the day. That’s still something that we’re playing with, but during these times, we’re going to make the best of what we can.”