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Collier County designs phases to return student-athletes to the field

Collier County high school students will soon have their first workouts since the coronavirus pandemic first limited the activities they could perform at school fields.

We looked at what it will take for students to be safe and for parents to allow their children to train for their respective sports.

For the last few months, high school fields have been empty and silent.

“I’ve been waiting to go back to practice for like awhile,” student-athlete Damario Salters said.

Students told us they are excited to get back with their teammates. And some parents we spoke to agree it’s time.

“I think they should be able to get training again,” said Scott Brewer, a parent in Naples. “I believe we can do it in a safe manner, six feet apart, outside. I don’t think it would be a hard thing to accomplish. I think we can figure it out so they can practice.”

Concerns still exist among parents, and students we spoke to acknowledged that.

“I think every parent is concerned about their child getting the virus,” student-athlete Jaden Wolner said.

And that’s why Collier County Public Schools is taking it slow, starting with phase one.

“We have a plan in place, not only for the students but to keep the parents at ease as well,” said Alan Scott, the activities coordinator at Gulf Coast High School. “Because the plan is going to make sure our kids and players are safe and being able to do their workouts in a safe environment.”

All summer workouts for Collier County student-athletes are voluntary. Charlotte County has similar guidelines in place.

Lee County has since announced its plan.  Parents and vulnerable employees are supposed to complete waivers before athletes are allowed to practice. These practices will be held in three stages beginning on Monday, June 15. and the same health checks and temperature screenings are required in Lee County as well.

Scott says they will take all precautions necessary, including screenings of the student-athletes, disinfecting all equipment, wearing masks and staying outdoors for workouts and practices.

“Our main concern is to get these kids in for an acclimation period,” Scott said. “That’s what phase one is, allows them to feel their way back into a season.”

Stage One June 15 to June 29

Pre-workout screenings

Health checks and temperatures will be taken and recorded before practice. Any student with a positive response will not be allowed to participate

Limited gatherings

Workouts will be no longer than 60 minutes and conducted in “pods” of students with the same 10-20 people per facility (including coaches) always working out together. Locker rooms will be closed.

Facilities cleaning

All facilities will be wiped clean before students enter. All weight equipment will be wiped down before an after each individual use. Frequent handwashing will be recommended.

Athletic Equipment

No equipment (towels, clothing, shoes, etc) shall be shared by students. Balls and other equipment used for drills will be cleaned after each use and the end of practice.

Hydration

All students should bring their own water bottle and water bottles should not be shared. Hydration stations (water fountains, water troughs, etc.) should not be used.

Stage two June 29 to July 9

Includes all the factors of Stage One with the addition of:

Workouts will be no longer than 90 minutes
Lower Risk Sports and Moderate Risk Sports according to the NFHS training may resume.
Maximum lifts can be performed. Spotters should stand at each end of the bar.

Stage Three July 9 to July 23

Includes all the factors of Stage One and Stage Two with the addition of:

Gatherings sizes of up to 50 individuals in the same “pod”, indoors or outdoors, can resume.
Maximum lifts should be limited, and power cages should be used for squats and bench presses. Spotters should stand at each end of the bar.

Summer participation in workouts and training sessions is voluntary and may not be used toward team or program selection. The District also reserves the right to halt or regress the Stages if necessary to protect student and staff health and safety.

The entire Return to Summer Workouts plan is available in the School Reintroduction section of www.leeschools.net

Click to access CCPS-Athletics-Return-to-Training-Guidanc.pdf

Click to access Charlotte-County-COVID-19-Athletic-Protocols.pdf

Reporter:Taylor Smith
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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