CONWAY — High school student-athletes received a snippet of good news from the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association on Thursday. Athletes are allowed to begin summer workouts with a limited number of teammates starting on Wednesday, July 1.
Kennett High Athletic Director Neal Weaver and Athletic Trainer Colby Locke had been working on a phased-in re-entry plan for the Eagles to begin training, which essentially matches up with the NHIAA plan, which was released to all 89 NHIAA members schools Wednesday with recommended guidelines although each school can create its own.
Weaver and Locke have created a plan which allows for “non-contact workouts, focusing on skills and conditioning.”
“From what I can tell, we’re essentially following Gov. (Chris) Sununu’s Phase I and 2 return for amateur and group sports teams,” Weaver said by phone Thursday. “Phase I for us is very much in line with what the NHIAA is recommending, which is great to see.”
The Stay at Home 2.0 N.H. guidelines can be found at tinyurl.com/ya5dxkgw.
Weaver said the plan he and Locke drafted was approved by SAU 9 Superintendent Kevin Richard on Wednesday, calling for “small group workouts with no contact,” on the playing fields at Kennett High.
“We’re going to take it slow with small steps, and be smart and safe in what we do,” Weaver said. “We’ll go with the initial guidelines with groups capped at 10 (student-athletes) with Colby at one time. Social distancing must be followed at all times.”
All workouts under Phase I must be outdoor with each athlete having their own equipment.
Weaver plans to send out an email to all perspective fall athletes to gauge their interest in workouts. For more details, you can contact him at email@example.com.
Weaver explained these will be 75-minute conditioning sessions. Athletes will go through a series of health screening questions each day before starting. They’ll be required to fill out a Google form every day listing their health status. All of the equipment will be disinfected before the next group uses it.
“We’ll start slow since some kids have not been very active,” Weaver said. “We’ll get them going and do it safely.”
The governor’s and NHIAA’s Phase 2 guidance allows for groups of up to 50, including coaches, and states locker rooms may be used.
The NHIAA unveiled an 11-page guideline for phase I and 2 on Thursday.
“The NHIAA Sports Medicine Committee and the NHIAA Council have unanimously approved the document,” the NHIAA website states (tinyurl.com/ybwtx27f). “In addition, the State of New Hampshire Re-opening Task Force has also endorsed the document. We hope that the guidance provided will help our member schools prepare and take the necessary precautions should they choose to engage in workouts this summer and sports in the fall.”
Phase 1 is outdoors only with groups of 10 or less, Phase 2 allows for groups of 50 and indoor activities and, “Phase Three (3) guidelines for practice/competition will be developed in conjunction with current state guidelines, NHIAA sport specific committee’s recommendations and the NHIAA Sports Medicine Committee.”
Under the guidelines in Phase I, “Athletes and staff should arrive to the sporting event already dressed and prepared to participate.
“During training sessions/practices, parents and other spectators are encouraged to remain in their cars in a designated parking area. However, when/if watching from the sidelines or are outside cars in the parking area, they should maintain safe social distance from others.
“Multiple groups are allowed to practice in one large area/field as long as the separate groups do not mix or interact in any way (e.g., no floating of coaches or support staff, and no interaction between athletes of different training groups).
“Staff and athletes should be screened on arrival to each sporting event by asking if the individual: A. Has any symptoms of COVID-19 (see Universal Guidelines for list of potential symptoms) or fever of 100.4 degrees or higher.
“All mouth-based activities often encountered with sporting events shall not be allowed. This includes but is not limited to: spitting, chewing gum, licking fingers, and chewing/spitting sunflower seeds.”
The NHIAA broke sports into three categories from lower to higher risk.
Lower risk: cross country (with staggered starts), track and field, swimming, bowling, golf, tennis, alpine skiing, Nordic skiing (with staggered starts), sideline spirit.
Moderate risk: volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, ice hockey, field hockey, girl’s lacrosse, gymnastics and bass fishing.
Higher risk: basketball, football, wrestling, spirit and boy’s lacrosse.
The NHIAA also addressed the possibility of an athlete or coach contracting the coronavirus.
“Due to the near-certainty of recurrent outbreaks in the coming months, schools must be prepared for periodic school closures and the possibility of some teams having to isolate for two or more weeks while in-season,” the guideline states. “Each school district should develop policies regarding practice and/or competition during temporary school closures, the cancellation of contests during the regular season and parameters for the cancellation or premature ending to post-season events/competitions.”