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Tuesday July 14th, 2020 8:40PM

No media allowed as prep sports set to return on June 8

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

Players, coaches, parents, fans, and certainly lonely sports writers have been chomping at the bit to get back to doing what they do best: play, coach, watch and cover sports on a daily basis.

That day is now just five short days away after the Georgia High School Association’s rollout late last month of guidelines in response to the COVID-19 virus that things could resume, albeit on a limited basis, beginning on Monday (June 8).

The early workouts will involve mainly conditioning and weight room activities with no sport being allowed to use balls or shared equipment. Most schools will conduct indoor and outdoor activities with a few conducting only outdoor activities for the first few days or first week.

And the AccessWDUN sports team has been waiting patiently, and with anticipation, to help bring back the excitement and joy that is sports as the schools get back to work after an excruciating three-month layoff.

But based on a pair of clauses in the GHSA’s guidelines, schools will only be allowed “...groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus or facility...No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions.

That last clause means exactly what it says, per GHSA Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines. In response to a text by AcessWDUN, prompted by inquiries as to just who is considered visitors, Hines stated that “no visitors” meant no parents, and “no press.”

Hines said those two aspects would remain in place “until the guidance changed” but would not elaborate on just when that would be or for how long it may take to get there.

So, for now, just know that the AccessWDUN Sports department will be monitoring the situation and will bring you coverage of the 2020-21 season getting underway, hopefully, as soon as the GHSA and its member schools open up their campuses.

The mental images of football passes, softball strikeouts, volleyball slams and cross country jaunts will have to remain just that in our minds until further notice.

Here is the GHSA’s announcement, in coordination with the governor’s office, from last week:

Here are the GHSA guidelines for returning to conditioning on June 8, 2020:

-- All summer work is voluntary
-- Schools/School systems may be more restrictive than the GHSA but not less
-- Workouts are conditioning only, no balls or sport-specific equipment
-- Member schools should prepare and infectious disease prevention plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning.
-- It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout 
-- Signage should be posted on-site with the following:

  • 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?

-- Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at campus or facility.
-- 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.
-- No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.
-- Weight equipment should be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student.
-- Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and readily available.
-- Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains or "water cows" is allowed.
-- Side spots only in the weight training, safety bars are preferred.
-- Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended for the weight room.
-- At least 15 minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility.
-- There is no competition allowed between schools.
-- No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions.

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