Stanly student-athletes get go-ahead to start workouts

Stanly County’s Class of 2021 high school student-athletes will finally get back to the practice fields and gyms next month.

July 6 will be the first day student-athletes competing in fall sports will be able to start voluntary workouts, according to a release today from Stanly County Schools (SCS).

The workouts will be voluntary and not be a requirement for making a team. Student-athletes playing in winter,  spring and middle school sports will not be allowed to do workouts.

Schools and teams will be expected to comply with the reopening and summer guidelines of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). Along with cleaning schedules, bathrooms must be disinfected after use along with disinfecting surfaces and providing hand sanitizer.

Workouts are limited to no more than 90 minutes in the first phase of the NCHSAA plan. Outdoor events are limited to 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors, with student-athletes working in the same groupings every day if possible.

Schools will maintain contact records of the groups to “facilitate contact tracing,” according to a statement from the NCHSAA. Participants will also need to maintain social distancing six feet apart.

No athlete will be allowed to participate who has a fever of 100.4 or higher or any COVID-19 symptoms. Students will not be allowed to rejoin until having a note from a healthcare provider saying the student does not have to be tested or their symptoms are not COVID-19 related.

SCS said in the statement coaches will be trained on the new guidelines and will be receiving the proper personal protective equipment.

Coaches and staff “are strongly recommended” to wear face masks while athletes are asked to do the same while not engaged in physical activity.

Locker rooms will be closed in the first phase and students will not be allowed in an athletic training room unless it is an emergency. Weight and mat rooms will remain closed in the first phase; weights can be moved outside but have to remain 12 feet apart. Athletic equipment can not be shared nor can any physical contact occur between athletes like high-fives.

Each sport will also have individual restrictions on what activities can happen, whether lower infections risk sports (cross-country, golf, baseball, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field) or higher risk (football, cheerleading, lacrosse, basketball, soccer, wrestling or volleyball).

Student-athletes who had a valid physical on or after March 1, 2019, receive a temporary one-year extension through the 2020-21 academic year. Athletes with a physical prior to March 1 will need an updated physical.

The SCS statement said in part the group is “fully committed to creating the safest environment for our student athletes and coaches. Safety is our top priority.”