High school sports face potentially tight restrictions with new coronavirus guidelines
This week, the National Federation of State High School Associations provided guidelines for schools to resume playing sports.
Empty fields and stands, and bare scoreboards have been the scene for the spring sports season, and might still be this fall.
Rodelin Anthony is a former football coach at Immokalee High School and he said that for a lot of kids, sports is their life.
As kids are eager to get back to playing, the NFHS said not so fast. The federation issued a list of phases and guidelines for high schools to use as the students hopefully return to campus in the fall.
Boys lacrosse, wrestling, competitive cheerleading and football are in the high-risk category, which means players can’t practice or play until phase three.
“There’s a lot more people involved. There’s a lot more interaction involved. There’s a lot more coaches involved,” Anthony said.
Phase one states no gatherings of more than 10 people and there must be a minimum of six feet between all participants.
So sports like cross country, golf and swimming would be good to go.
Phase two allows for 50 people to practice outside. Soccer, basketball, baseball, softball and girls lacrosse fall into this category.
“Like you give water breaks, you give hand sanitizing breaks,” said Frank Turco, the athletic director and head baseball coach at Canterbury.
No matter the phase, or the sport, the federation recommends players wear masks until there is a cure or vaccine readily available.
The committee is still reviewing best practices for testing and what steps teams should follow if a team member tests positive for COVID-19.
One coach said he believes sports will return in the fall.
“I think the kids in our community are going to just demand it, quite frankly,” said Rob Nelson, Canterbury football and lacrosse coach.
As for fans in the stands, they could only return when local authorities lift restrictions on mass gatherings.