CHAPEL HILL — The North Carolina High School Athletic Association released a memo to schools on Tuesday, July 28, discussing guidelines regarding the reopening of high school sports activities.

“On July 23, 2020, the NCHSAA Board of Directors voted to provide Phase Two guidance to member schools regarding summer conditioning and workout activities,” the memo stated. “As always, please consult with your school and LEA administrators relative to local rules and regulations. NCHSAA Phase Two Guidelines become effective Aug. 3, 2020.

“In some instances, Phase One and Phase Two guidelines are the same,” the memo noted, while other portions of the guidelines include adjustments.

Among the highlights of the new Phase Two guidelines are:

  • Sharing of equipment is permissible within small groups/pods.
  • Wearing protective equipment remains prohibited.
  • Equipment must be disinfected frequently, and it REQUIRES disinfecting prior to use by another pod.
  • Licensed Athletic Trainers/First Responders are not required; however, as noted in the Points of Emphasis, they should always be included when possible.

Coaches of schools that have not participated in Phase One are strongly encouraged to ensure a gradual return to activities, considering the condition of students who may have been physically inactive this summer. Additionally, it is important to “teach” the daily monitoring protocol and ways that workouts will incorporate the “3 W’s” of mitigating COVID-19, the memo noted. The association also urged coaches to be familiar with and adhere to already-established policies.

“Due to the extreme heat and humidity we are experiencing, you MUST follow the requirements as listed in the NCHSAA Handbook... as well as observing your local policies,” the association reminded coaches.

NCHSAA staff has worked with its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee on recommendations for member schools regarding summer activities that are in alignment with NCDHHS directives. The Phase Two guidance is intended to assist schools to continue or begin to navigate a gradual reopening of high school sports, while helping mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“The NCHSAA Board of Directors understands that implementation decisions schools make this summer regarding sports and other co-curricular activities will potentially impact the upcoming school year. Thus, it is important that you adhere to this current guidance,” the release stressed.

Schools and coaches were also reminded that, per NCHSAA policy, participation in summer sports/activities cannot be required.

“The staff, Board of Directors and SMAC remain committed to administering sports/activities this Fall, provided it can be done safely and in accordance with guidance from our state educational and medical partners,” according to the memo. “Decisions relative to the Sept. 1 start date will be made later in August.”

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