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KJUHSD resumes athletics under NFHS SMAC guidelines

KJUHSD resumes athletics under NFHS SMAC guidelines

KINGSBURG - With summer vacation starting last week, the fall sports season was getting underway as usual at Kingsburg High.

Kingsburg Joint Union High School District entered Phase 1 of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) guidelines on Monday, June 8.

“If you look at the NFHS guidelines for Phase 1 athletics, it falls right in line with what is allowed by our state currently,” Hodges said. “Our district, we felt comfortable moving into Phase 1 of the NFHS guidelines.”

Some teams are holding in-person conditioning workouts while other coaches are continuing to send workouts to their players, Hodges said.

Football was one of the sports that held in-person workouts last week and Hodges said girls soccer, the team he coaches, were also conditioning.

“The NFHS Phase 1 guidelines are so restrictive, some of our athletic coaches felt like they wanted to keep sending out individual workouts and not meet in person with their student athletes,” Hodges said. “It’s really up to each individual coach.”

There’s four main points that are addressed in Phase 1: Pre-workout screening, limitations on gatherings, facilities cleaning, physical activity and athletic equipment, and hydration.

Pre-workout screenings include an online questionnaire and temperature checks for all coaches and athletes prior to each training session. Hodges said athletes and parents were required to turn in a waiver form prior to Monday. The responses to the online screening questions for each person will be recorded and stored in case anyone tests positive or shows symptoms for COVID-19.

Any person with positive symptoms reported should not be allowed to participate in workouts and vulnerable individuals shouldn’t oversee or take part in any workouts during Phase 1.

Hodges said coaches and athletes could opt-out of the workouts if they don’t feel comfortable participating.

“There will be no negative consequences for not participating,” Hodges said.

As far as limitations on gatherings, no gatherings of more than 10 people won’t be allowed to take place inside or outside. Locker rooms also won’t be utilized in Phase 1.

For the facilities cleaning portion of the phase, before any individual or group enters a facility, surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized including weight room equipment and athletic training room tables.

Weight equipment should be wiped down before and after the use of the individual. Any equipment that has holes with exposed foam such as weight benches or athletic pads should be covered.

In addition to the locker rooms, the weight room and pool will not be utilized during Phase 1, Hodges said.

“All the coaches understand that there’s no weight room right now,” Hodges said. “The water polo and swim and dive teams understand there’s no pool right now. There’s obviously extra work that we’re requiring of our coaches to really schedule around that. I’ve been really proud of our coaching staff for being engaged during this process and giving their best efforts to implement the guidelines.”

In the physical activity and athletic equipment section, the NFHS SMAC provides examples such as basketball players can shoot a ball, but no one else can touch it. Football players should not participate in team drills with a single ball and they can’t hand the ball off or pass it to their teammates. There should be no sharing of tackling dummies, donuts or sleds.

Volleyball players can’t use a single ball that others touch in any manner, softball and baseball players cannot share gloves, bats, or a single ball, but a single player may hit in cages and throw in batting practice - with netting as the backstop and without a catcher.

Tennis players could do individual drills against a wall, runners should maintain six feet apart from another individual, and wrestlers could participate in drills without making contact with a teammate.

When the guidelines address hydration, all students must bring their own water bottle and they should not be shared. Hydration stations such as water cows, water troughs and water fountains should not be utilized.

The NFHS SMAC guidelines doesn’t require or recommend athletes to wear a mask, but Hodges said it’ll be a “case-by-case” basis regarding masks.

To read the full NFHS SMAC guidelines, it can be viewed on their website.

“It’s giving us a chance to try to start the process of moving back to a somewhat normal routine,” Hodges said. “These student athletes have not been with their peers, they haven’t been with their coaches and in my opinion as an athletic director, that also has negative effects on the well-being of our student athletes.”

The reporter can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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