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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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.
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.”