NJSIAA Chief Operating Officer Colleen Maguire said in a video posted on Twitter Friday to expect changes both to the fall season and the upcoming school year.
Maguire, who recently ascended to the organization’s top post, said “the fall season will not look like last year’s season. While I do not have a crystal ball to predict how the season will be different, you can be assured there will be changes. For instance, you may not be able to play as many games, you may not be traveling as much or your season may start later or end earlier.”
Maguire added “Your school day will not look the same as past years.” and re-iterated a return to sports must be in coordination with a return to school. She also noted the NJSIAA will be guided by different rules than the rush to return to youth sports that aren’t under the NJSIAA jurisdiction.
High School sports have been on hold with school buildings closed because of the coronavirus since mid-March. The entire spring season was canceled.
The NJSIAA recently announced Phase 1 of a return which will last from July 13 to July 26 and includes no more than 10 athletes in a group, temperature checks, no shared equipment except for balls, no locker room access and coaches wearing masks. Assistant director Tony Maselli said there would be four phases.
The NJSIAA hasn’t announced any delays to the start of the fall season, which is scheduled to begin around Labor Day weekend, but Maguire said in the video the organization was continuing to work hard to identify start dates for fall sports seasons. Maguire recommended that all athletes should get physicals and to be aware of cardiac risks that come along with COVID-19.
The guidelines for phase one include the following:
- Each district must designate school personnel to conduct pre-screening. This person cannot be involved in coaching student-athletes.
- Any athletes that have been diagnosed with coronavirus or had a family member with coronavirus will need a doctor’s note to be allowed to participate.
- Any athlete with a temperature greater than 100.4 degrees will be required to return home.
- Workouts will be no longer than 90 minutes, including a 10-minute warm-up and 10-minute cool down.
- All workouts must take place outside.
- There can be no physical contact of any time during phase one.
- Athletes engaged in “high-intensity aerobic activity” do not need to wear face coverings
- Athletes not engaged in high-intensity aerobic activity — sitting on the bench, reviewing plays, watching videos, among similar items — are encouraged to wear face coverings.
- No more than 10 athletes should be grouped in a single area and those groups should be pre-determined by coaches. These groups must remain together throughout phase one.
- Social distancing must be maintained by athletes and coaches at all times.
- No equipment can be shared during phase one.
- Athletes should not have access to locker rooms, except for bathroom use.
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