Latest GHSA Statements on Coronavirus Situation

October 9:

As we are navigating through this most unusual year, I want to address a couple of COVID-19 issues that have come up in a few occasions.

1. Be open regarding your quarantine situation, if there is one, with your opponent prior to the contest. Share your plan with your opponent if requested and it is expected that all plans comply with the DPH. The Department of Public Health should at a minimum be aware of your plan to ensure compliance. If the GHSA is asked to intervene in a COVID-19 situation, the basis of the decision will be based on whether or not the DPH was involved in the plan or determines that it is within the guidance offered.

2. If you have an athlete test positive for COVID-19 after a contest and the possibility exists that the athlete was positive during the contest, please inform the school you played.

Thank you in advance for your attention to these situations. I know the vast majority of schools are already providing this information but there are a couple of instances that we could be more forthcoming. After all, we are in this together and you have done a great job getting us to where we are but please continue to do everything possible to mitigate any possible issues.

Thanks for all you do,

Robin Hines

September 2:

After yesterday’s meeting with the SMAC, with input from the medical group, the GHSA decided to re-define the re-acclimation of quarantined athletes when they return to practice.    

Initially, all football players are required to complete five (5) days of acclimation.  Once acclimated, if players miss five (5) or more consecutive days of practice, they must re-acclimate.  Effective immediately, athletes and teams requiring re-acclimation, will follow the schedule below, for all athletes who have previously completed the acclimation period.

Re-Acclimation may start on the last day of quarantine provided the school can document the conditioning of the student/athlete.  Sample (not mandatory) workout plans may be found here (sample 1; sample 2) for you to use if you wish.

Re-Acclimation
Last Day Quarantine:  1.5 hour conditioning - helmets only
Day 2:  2 hours practice - helmets only
Day 3: 2.5 hours practice with helmets and shoulder pads
Day 4: 2.5 hours practice with full pads
Day 5: 2.5 hours practice with full pads or play a game

The acclimation and re-acclimation of athletes will end on Wednesday, September 30th.

Also, with all sports in season and schools working with the local Department of Public Health, we will stop collecting School’s Positive Test Results.

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Robin Hines

August 27:

After yesterday’s meeting with the SMAC with input from the medical group, the GHSA decided to define the re-acclimation of quarantined athletes when they return to practice.    

Initially, all football players are required to complete five (5) days of acclimation.  Once acclimated, if players miss five (5) or more consecutive days of practice, they must re-acclimate.  Effectively immediately, athletes and teams requiring re-acclimation, will follow the schedule below (for all athletes who have previously completed the acclimation period):

Re-Acclimation
Day 1:  1.5 hour conditioning - helmets only
Day 2:  2 hours conditioning - helmets only
Day 3: 2.5 hours with helmets only
Day 4: 2.5 hours with helmets and shoulder pads
Day 5: 2.5 hours with full pads – No Game

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

August 26:

After today’s meeting with the SMAC, the GHSA will begin football season the week of September 4 as directed by the Board of Trustees.
 
Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

August 19:

After today’s meeting with the SMAC, the GHSA will be moving forward with the September 4 date for opening football season as directed by the Board of Trustees.

There were some changes made in the sport of fast pitch softball, however. Those can be found here: https://www.ghsa.net/end-softball-season-changed-covid-19.

Robin Hines

August 17:

The GHSA Office met recently with the State Department of Public Health in an effort to provide additional  guidance to our member schools.  To that end, we have drafted two documents which can be found here: 1) Action Plan for Failed Screening or Positive COVID-19 Test;  and 2) Contest Day Operations.

Robin Hines

August 12:

After today's meeting with the SMAC, the GHSA is providing this information to our member schools to provide an idea of the possibilities that exist for GHSA sports/activities.

    Our plan as of today is to move forward with the September 4 date for opening football season, as directed by the Board of Trustees.
    However, it is possible that the start date of September 4 could change based on COVID-19 data.
    As numbers dictate over the next two weeks, a decision will be forthcoming with regard to the football start date.
    The GHSA staff has contingency plans to cover all start and restart scenarios.
    Our goal continues to be to provide sports and activities for our students as soon as possible with safety being the top priority.
    There is always a possibility of postponement based on the data and advice from our medical professionals.

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

August 6:

After yesterday's meeting with the SMAC, I have decided to implement the guidance listed below:

Football: (Due to high risk and physical contact)
    Continue to practice as outlined in previous guidance so athletes and staff will be in a controlled environment
    First Football Game is September 4th, as previously voted on by the GHSA Board of Trustees on July 20, 2020
    Eliminate preseason scrimmage game(s) but continue practice with players in the controlled environment

Cheerleading: (Due to high risk of indoor packed arena(s) which do not allow for social distancing)
    Continue to practice as outlined in previous guidance so practice will be in a controlled environment
    Adjust the competition season to align with the proposed new dates for Region and State Championship    
    Dates will be published when venue(s) are secured to best accommodate the needs of cheerleading
    Tentative first date for competitions would be November 21, 2020
    Tentative State Cheerleading Finals would be February 26-27, 2020

One Act Play: (Due to risk of indoor venues and aerosol spray from projection and singers)
    Tentative move to spring semester, details will be forwarded when Tommy Whittle returns from vacation

Robin Hines

July 22:

The GHSA and the Sports Medicine Advisory Council appreciates our member schools' continued efforts in the successful implementation of the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

As I am sure you are all aware, the Board of Trustees voted Monday to move back the start of the football season two weeks later. This does not affect the start of acclimatization or the first date of practice. Scrimmages and games are pushed back two weeks, practice remains the same. In order to keep Girls Flag Football aligned with 11-man football championships, the season has been slightly adjusted (dates are on the GHSA web site). All other Fall sports and activities will remain as scheduled on the original calendar.

After our meeting today, the GHSA has elected to utilize the following Guidance for Acclimatization and Practice with recommendations and/or restrictions.    

NOTE: This information concerning Guidance for Acclimatization and Practice with recommendations and/or restrictions, is for the Acclimation Period and start of practice on August 1st.  The previous recommendations and/or restrictions are still in place for voluntary summer conditioning which prohibits inter squad (between schools) scrimmages.

The GHSA Office is expecting all schools to continue reporting any and all Positive COVID-19 cases (list positive test date, athlete or coach, and sport) results since June 8th to Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net.

In addition to the positive cases, we are requesting you report any and all individuals who have been screened out of any conditioning workouts (list date screened out, athlete or coach, and sport) to Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net.    

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

July 15:

The GHSA and the Sports Medicine Advisory Council appreciates our member schools' continued efforts in the successful implementation of the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

After our meeting today, the GHSA has elected to implement the use of football helmets only with the following stipulations: 1) football players may be issued a football helmet to begin using on July 20th and 2) schools must sanitize the helmet before and after each workout. All previously distributed correspondence is still in place until further notice, especially no use of locker rooms

The GHSA and the SMAC has started the discussion concerning the start of the acclimatization period (beginning July 27), first date for practice (August 1) and the first contest date (different for each Sport/Activity).  More information will be available following next week's meeting.   

The GHSA Office is expecting all schools to continue reporting any and all Positive COVID-19 cases (list positive test date, athlete or coach, and sport) results since June 8th to Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net.

In addition to the positive cases, we are requesting you report any and all individuals who have been screened out of any conditioning workouts (list date screened out, athlete or coach, and sport) to Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net.    

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

July 8:

The GHSA and the Sports Medicine Advisory Council appreciates our member schools' continued efforts in the successful implementation of the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

After our meeting today, the GHSA has elected to not implement any additional changes at this time.  All previously distributed correspondence is still in place until further notice.   

The GHSA Office is expecting all schools to continue reporting any and all Positive COVID-19 cases (list positive test date, athlete or coach, and sport) results since June 8th to Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net.

In addition to the positive cases, we are requesting you report any and all individuals who have been screened out of any conditioning workouts (list date screened out, athlete or coach, and sport) to Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net.    

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

July 1:

The GHSA and the Sports Medicine Advisory Council appreciates our member schools' efforts during the successful implementation of the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

The GHSA has elected to implement: 1) intra-squad competitions (7-on-7, 3-on-3, ... ) are allowed but competition between schools is illegal, 2) Groups of 50 are allowed to re-group if it can be done safely, 3) Cheerleading, Softball and Volleyball tryouts are allowed, 4) mask and face covering are recommended and 5) Each student should have their own personal water bottle (water bottles may be re-filled during workouts). No use of water fountains or “water cows” is allowed, starting Monday, July 6th with the following stipulations:

1.    Recommend a mask or face covering.
2.    Groups may be re grouped into a group with up to the limit of 50 individuals.
3.    Water bottles may be refilled during workouts

FOOTBALL- NO helmets, shoulder pads, girdles, knee or thigh pads can be worn AT ANY TIME.  The face mask and face covering recommended guideline does not refer to helmets or helmet face masks, but to the use of cloth face covering/masks to help slow the spread of Covid-19.

Click here for a Revised Guidance which may be implemented Monday, July 6th.  

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.
Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

June 25:

The GHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Council met today and discussed the current “Guidance for returning to conditioning on June 22 with recommendation and/or restrictions” as well as moving forward after the upcoming Dead Week.  It was decided that no changes will be made at this time for the week beginning July 6, 2020.  The Council will meet again next week (during the dead week) to discuss possible changes for the week of July 6th.

The GHSA Office is asking all member schools to report positive COVID-19 tests of student/athletes and coaches by emailing Don Corr at don.corr@ghsa.net. When emailing, please state the school name, denote coach or athlete (no names), date of positive test, and the sport in which the individual was conditioning. Names of student/athletes and coaches should not be included in this report.  

We hope that everyone stays safe under these difficult times.

Robin Hines

June 22:

Due to the number of calls, the GHSA would like to clarify the term "no scrimmaging" in the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

It is defined as:
1.    No one-on-one, No two-on-two, etc. ... in any sport.
2.    No seven-on-seven in football.
3.    No live batting practice that has a catcher and hitter with in six (6) feet of each other.
4.    No conditioning/activity that does not allow for "Social Distancing."

Remember that "Social Distancing" is still in place and should be strictly followed at all times.

Robin Hines

June 17:

The GHSA and the Sports Medicine Advisory Council appreciates our member schools' efforts during the successful implementation of the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

The GHSA has elected to implement: 1) Allow the use of sports specific equipment (including balls) in conditioning (no scrimmaging), and 2) increase the number of participants in each group from 25 to 50 (two existing groups should be combined into one group), starting Monday, June 22nd with the following stipulations:

1.    Sports specific equipment (including balls) may be used and should be sanitized between sessions.
2.    Existing groups may be combined into one (1) group, up to the limit of 50 individuals.

Click the following links to view two (2) documents: 1) is a Revised Guidance which may be implemented Monday, June 22nd and 2) is the original guidance with newly approved revisions that may be implemented Monday, June 22, 2020.  

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.
Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

June 11:

The GHSA and the Sports Medicine Advisory Council appreciates our member schools' efforts during the successful implementation of the Coronavirus Guidance Plan.

The GHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Council met yesterday and elected to increase the number of participants in each group from 20 to 25 starting Monday, June 15th with the following stipulations:

    1.    The additional participants added to the group should be new additions only.
    2.    Current groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session with the exception of the new participants.
    3.    All current recommendations and/or restrictions are still in place.

Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change.  Safety must be our top priority.

Thanks for all you and your staff do for the student/athletes in the State of Georgia.

Robin Hines

May 28:

While we are over a week away from returning to conditioning, there has been no shortage of calls, texts and emails regarding this guidance. Primarily the questions have centered around the size of the group per campus/ facility and Head Coaches/ Athletic Directors and their impact on the group. The following is an effort to clarify the intent of the guidelines previously distributed:
 

> Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus/facility.  Campus/facility denote the buildings and contiguous property surrounding the buildings.  You cannot have a group from one sport in the weight room and another from the same sport on a field on the same campus.  This includes adjacent middle school properties. If your middle school that feeds the high school is on an entirely different campus/facility, a second group from the same sport could condition at that location as well following the same guidelines.  Multiple sport conditioning groups should be scheduled with staggered starting and ending time to prevent large gatherings before and after workouts.
 

> Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Students or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance. Athletic Directors and Head Coaches are allowed to monitor all workouts. Schools that employ a Strength and Conditioning coach may use that individual to direct all workouts. These individuals count in the group limit of 20 persons. Social distancing, hand washing/sanitizer are stressed and masks/face coverings for these individuals is highly recommended. Groups should be consistent from workout to workout.  If there are multiple-sport athletes, one conditioning group should be selected and adhered to for the duration of this guidance. There should be no student athlete in multiple conditioning groups.
 

Please adhere to the guidance provided as it is given to create the safest environment for our coaches, athletes and all with whom they come in contact. I fully expect this guidance to change over time but it will remain in place for at least the first week of workouts as we focus on conditioning rather than sport-specific skills. Safety MUST be our top priority and I appreciate your cooperation.

Robin Hines

May 26:

It is the responsibility of each school system/school to formulate an Infectious Disease Plan taking into account the uniqueness of your community, school system, school, student/athletes, parents and spectators.  In formulating these plans, each school system/school should contact their central office personnel to determine if a plan is already in place that COVID-19 might fall under.  If one is not in place, school systems/schools should make all of the necessary decisions for a Infectious Disease Plan which accommodates their needs.    

As promised during the last GHSA BOT meeting, here are two COVID-19 templates (template 1 & template 2), a CA-MRSA plan and a Thompson SD plan (found while searching the internet). These documents will hopefully assist you in formulating a plan that best suits your local school or school system. 

If you need assistance, feel free to call or email.  Hope everyone is being safe.

Don Corr

May 21:

The Georgia High School Association will open up conditioning for its member schools on June 8, 2020. The plan is restrictive and provides for conditioning only. As the data related to COVID-19 continues to improve, restrictions may be reduced after input from our health care professionals and guidance from our Governor. Please make every effort to follow the recommendations and restrictions included in the guidance provided. As you return to conditioning, keep in mind that the majority of your athletes have “deconditioned” the past two months and need to work into what would be normal for this time of year. Reduce the work and gradually increase the workouts with time.

Finally, ensure that your school and system leadership are aware of this guidance and have the opportunity provide input into your plan to move forward with conditioning and for preparing and maintaining your facilities. Keep in mind that member schools may be more restrictive than the guidance but may not be less restrictive. There has never been a time more critical time for athletic departments, school administration, and system level administrators to work together.

Thank you for all you do for your athletes and please follow the guidance appropriately and keep everyone safe.

Supporting documents:
Conditioning Recommendations
Workout Questionaire
Sample Monitoring Form

Robin Hines

May 14:

The Board of Trustees is keenly aware of the challenges you face with regard to physicals for the 2020-2021 school year. In response, they have approved an exception to allow physicals that are valid through the end of this school year to be valid through July 27, 2020 which is the first official date for practice for 2020-2021. This should assist schools in scheduling team physicals this summer or allow more time for your athletes to schedule a physical with their personal physician.

To Summarize:

1. Athletes with physicals valid through the end of this school year are given an exception through July 27, 2020. At that time a new physical for 2020-2021 must be on file prior to participation.

2. Any athlete whose physical expired prior to the end of the school year must have a current physical on file prior to participation.

3. Any student new to your school must have a current physical on file prior to participation. If the student is a transfer and brings a physical with them, it must meet the criteria listed above.

There have been numerous reports that the GHSA has released a return to practice for football. This is "fake news" as we have not released any schedule for return to practice. We are meeting with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and gathering information from many different sources. We are Hopeful for a measured return with restrictions in June and hopefully the data will continue to support this effort. We will put a plan together as soon as possible for the Board of Trustees to consider and let you know as soon as this is completed. Until that time, all GHSA sports and activities are suspended.

For those Fall sports with Spring tryouts (cheer, volleyball, softball), schools will be allowed to schedule tryouts once we are cleared to return to practice.

The GHSA Coaches Select Recruiting Event for basketball in June has been cancelled. The NCAA pushed its dead recruiting period up which conflict with the dates of the event. We will inform you of additional information regarding this event as we receive it.

The Board of Trustees agreed that the State Executive Committee will be best held in person rather than virtually. We will schedule this as soon as we receive guidance of when it is safe to do so. My thought and best guess would be that we could convene once the legislature resumes to finish their session. Again, more information will be forthcoming as soon as we receive it.

Have a great day, stay safe and let me know if I can help you in any way.

Robin Hines

May 6:

I just want to touch base with everyone although there is no concrete news that I can provide. I am in the process of gathering as much information as possible to narrow down a date that we may be able to begin some type of face to face work with our student athletes. We will be looking at local, state and national information to attempt to make the best decision going forward. I am hopeful that we can implement a measured return to training with guidance in June. All of the information needed to make such a decision is not available but we are working toward this goal. Social distancing, reduced numbers of athletes and coaches per session, disinfecting facilities as well as standard hygiene practices will certainly be a part of any return to sport training. Again, no decisions have been made at this time.

I appreciate your patience, I know you are ready to get back to normal and providing for your athletes. Be safe and let me know if I can do anything for you.

Robin Hines

April 21:

I am aware of the opening of hair and nail salons, gyms and soon restaurants by the Governor. This did not include schools and  school gyms are not to be opened until schools are opened and the GHSA has given the "all clear" for activities to resume. I have received numerous calls, emails and texts regarding the governor's comments and school gyms are not the kind of gyms he is referring to. He is referring to Edge, Gold's, Planet fitness etc. The guidance for GHSA sports and activities and training for these activities is that they are all suspended until further notice. Schools are closed, activities are suspended. You will be contacted the moment this changes.

I realize that you are ready to return, as am I, but I ask for your patience during these unprecedented times.

Robin Hines

April 2:

Given the announcement yesterday by Governor Kemp, it is with a heavy heart that I inform you that all GHSA activities and sports are cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year. I especially want to commend the graduating seniors who have not only missed most of the spring season but prom, senior nights, awards ceremonies, possibly graduation, and spent the last few months away from their friends and classmates. Our seniors have a great deal to be proud of and while this is not the way any of us wanted it to end, I want to thank them for a job well done.

There have been quite a few requests for the GHSA to allow a 5th year of eligibility to students due to this crisis. There are no plans to grant an additional year. As sad and disappointing as this spring has been, there is a backward trickle effect and there are many unintended consequences associated with waiving this by-law. GHSA activities and sports are education-based and exist as an extension of the classroom. The culmination of all activities of a student is to lead to graduation and this will have taken place for our seniors. This is not the situation any of us would like to be in but the 8-semester rule will remain in effect.

Moving forward to this summer, there is not enough information to make decisions at this time. We await guidance from the NCAA on the Men's Basketball Recruiting Event and will inform you where that stands as soon as we know something. As I stated in the newsletter earlier this week, I am concerned about the summer as well as the fall. I am hoping for the best but there is no information available that would allow for any decision regarding when practices and workouts will be allowed. There are no GHSA activities or practices allowed until further notice.

Again, this is not what anyone hoped for and I appreciate your continued support during this difficult time. As always, feel free to email or call if I can help you with anything or answer any questions.

Robin Hines

March 26:

I am sure most of you know by now that Governor Kemp on Thursday extended the mandatory closing of all schools through April 24. Obviously, the GHSA will follow this edict and we remind our member schools that all practices and contests remain suspended until at least April 24.

The governor’s office has indicated that he likely will make a decision on the remainder of the school year sometime prior to April 24. Therefore at or before that time, the GHSA office will inform our member schools of a decision regarding resuming spring sports and activities.

These are, of course, unprecedented times that call for unprecedented actions and our main concern remains the safety of all student-athletes, their families and fans.

Robin Hines

March 24:

I want to touch base with everyone after Governor Kemp's press conference yesterday. His mandate of no gatherings of more than 10 people certainly applies to schools and sporting events so in effect the original mandate has been extended through April 6. 2020. I am also aware of schools and communities mandating closures beyond this date. The fact is that we are in unprecedented times and our situation remains fluid.

The GHSA Associate Directors will meet Friday, March 27, to plan for all scenarios that could pertain to the Spring season and Spring championships. All we can do is take the information available to us at the time and make the best decisions we can moving forward. Our top priority is the safety of our student athletes and those with whom they have contact. As a reminder, ALL practices and competitions continue to be suspended until further notice.

Feel free to contact me with any concerns.

Robin Hines

March 17:

The GHSA is an extension of our member schools in providing education-based sports and activities. As such, and in response to Governor Kemp's mandatory closure of Georgia's public schools, the mandatory closure will extend to all GHSA sports and activities including practice. Schools are scheduled to reopen on March 31 and we will follow the guidance available to us at that time. The safety of our student athletes and all of those that they come in contact with is our top priority. Thank you for your cooperation and don't hesitate to call if you have any questions.

March 16:

As we all continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 on EVERYTHING, we want to keep you informed as to the latest GHSA decisions.

The GHSA staff will work remotely beginning Monday, March 16, and extending through Friday, March 27, at which time we plan to have an update on whether or not the current recommended two-week suspension will end or be extended.

Someone from our staff will come into the office to monitor the phones during the morning hours each day.  If you would like to communicate with any of our staff, please use the general GHSA email address (ghsa@ghsa.net) or the individual’s personal email address, which may be found at this link: https://www.ghsa.net/office-staff.

We are keeping all GHSA family members in our thoughts and we will strive to do what is in the best interest of our student-athletes during this unprecedented time.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

March 12:

Following a statement by Governor Brian Kemp Thursday afternoon, the Georgia High School Association is postponing the State Literary competitions scheduled for March 14 and March 21, and further recommending that all member schools suspend spring sports activities until further notice.

“The regular season belongs to the schools themselves,“ said Dr. Robin Hines, Executive Director of the GHSA. “We can only recommend that they suspend playing. The final decision will rest with the local school systems, but we hope they heed the Governor’s and the GHSA’s recommendations.”

The GHSA State Literary meets are expected to be made up at a future date. The situation with the remaining spring sports is yet to be determined.

“We will definitely suspend for the next two weeks, as the Governor recommended,” said Hines. “By close of business on Friday, March 27th, we will issue an update.

“We hate to have to make this call, but we must do what is in the best interest of our student-athletes and fans.”

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