The CIF releases a set of recommended guidelines for high school athletics as they get closer to being reintroduced for local communities. Valley News/File photo

With the CIF State office announcing that high school sports are being pushed back to the end of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization has released a 10-page set of recommended guidelines on how local section and health officials should proceed on reintroducing high school athletics.

Steps on resuming sports include two reopening phases and details on pre-workout screenings, hygiene practices, food and hydration, travel, face coverings, pre-participation exams, faculties cleaning and entrance and exit strategies. The guidelines include a list of activities that each sport should follow, unless instructed by local county health officials.

Phase One

No gathering of more than what is allowed by local county guidelines.

Workouts should be conducted in “pods” – the same five to 10 students working out together weekly, to limit overall exposures. Small pods can be used for strength training.

Athletes and coaches must maintain a physical distance of 6 feet.

If maintaining physical distance isn’t possible, the maximum number of individuals to a room must be decreased so physical distancing requirements are met.

Phase Two

Up to 50 people may gather indoors or outdoors unless prescribed by county residents.

Pre-participation exam

Governing bodies of school districts and private schools could provide a temporary waiver to an athlete to participate in athletics before the school’s first day of practice.

This waiver is limited to fall sports.

After 30 days, a student is required to submit a 2020-2021 physical exam to be eligible to compete in practices and competitions.

Facilities cleaning

Hard surfaces like chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms and athletic training tables must be sanitized and wiped before use.

Coaches and athletes must watch their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap or use hand sanitizer.

Hand sanitizer should always be available.

Appropriate shoes always need to be worn.

Students should shower immediately after returning home from practice.

Entrance and exit strategies

Athletic programs should consider strategies to prevent groups from gathering at entrances and exits to limit crossover and contact.

Staggering start and end times should be considered.

Pre-workout screening

All coaches and students should be screened daily for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before practicing or competing.

Any person with symptoms shouldn’t participate and should immediately self-isolate and contact their primary care provider.

Athletes and coaches with positive symptoms will only be allowed to return with written medical consent.

Vulnerable individuals with respiratory problems or diabetes should not participate in athletics during Phase One.

Hydration/food

All students are required to bring their own water bottles.

Water bottles cannot be shared.

Hydration stations like water fountains and water cows should only be used for refilling personal water bottles.

Travel

Athletics programs should stay within their local areas and avoid traveling to other states.

Avoid traveling to different counties if each one is in a different phase of reopening.

Face Coverings

The CIF recommends face coverings be worn by students.

Any student who wishes to wear a cloth face mask should be allowed to do so.

Plastic shields covering entire face will not be allowed due to risk of unintended injuries.

Coaches, officials and other game personnel should wear masks, especially when physical distancing isn’t possible.

Referees and coaches can use air horns and electronic whistles instead of traditional whistles.

Weight Rooms

Weight equipment should be wiped thoroughly before and after each use.

Resistance training should be utilized instead of exercises that require use of a spotter.

Weight exercises that require use of a spotter are not allowed.

Weight rooms should follow social distancing guidelines.

Locker rooms should not be utilized during Phase One.

Activities permitted by sport

Football – Conditioning and individual drills are allowed. Contact with teammates isn’t allowed and tackling dummies, doughnuts and sleds shouldn’t be shared. Drills that involve a single-use ball shared by other teammates are forbidden.

Basketball – Players are allowed to shoot but should practice only with one ball. Sharing of balls will not be allowed.

Baseball/Softball – Batting practice done in cages with protective netting is allowed, but the balls need to be picked up by the two individuals in the cage after each round. Balls should be cleaned and collected individually. Conditioning and tee work are allowed. Players should not share equipment or throw an individual ball among teammates.

Volleyball – Conditioning and individual drills are allowed and each player should have their own ball. A player shouldn’t contact a ball that’s been touched by a teammate.

Soccer – Individual drills and conditioning are allowed but use of hands or heading isn’t. Players cannot make contact with one another.

Wrestling – Mirrors drills with spacing and conditioning are allowed. Combatants cannot make physical contact with each other.

Competitive cheerleading – Individual choreography work is allowed. Chants, jumps, dances and tumbling can be used if athletes maintain physical distancing. Athletes cannot perform group or partner stunts.

Lacrosse – Individual drills, conditioning and shooting drills are allowed. Teammates cannot pass a ball that has been touched by another athlete.

Cross-Country – Runners should maintain 6 feet of physical distance. Grouping isn’t allowed.

Track and Field – Individuals should maintain 6 feet of physical distance. Sharing of individual equipment isn’t allowed and padded equipment should be cleaned between each use.

Swimming – County health officials will decide on whether to reopen pools. If opened, swimmers must maintain 6 feet of physical distancing. Sharing lanes isn’t allowed.

Golf – Golfers should maintain 6 feet of physical distancing, and clubs should be cleaned after each use during Phase One.

Tennis – Sharing balls and rackets is not allowed, and only machines are allowed for singles’ practices during Phase One. Doubles practices will not be allowed during Phase One and Phase Two

* These are the recommended guidelines that each sport should follow, if and when, the school districts allow their teams to start practicing, with more clear and concise instructions being passed down by local county health officials.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.