WEST VIRGINIA—The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) recently released a set of guidelines for state associations to follow as they consider opening back up high school athletics during the COVID19 pandemic.
The guidelines didn’t mention any specific timelines but are very specific about what should happen in each of its three phases.
The NFHS guidelines recommend that “state, local, or school district guidelines for cloth face coverings should be strictly followed,” and states that students should expect to wear cloth face coverings during Phases 1 and 2 of its plan. Exceptions will be made for distance running, swimming, and other highintensity aerobic activities.
Coaches and officials should expect to wear cloth face coverings at all times during Phases 1-3.
A brief summary of the phases is listed below.
• Locker rooms will not be utilized.
• All coaches and students will be given a temperature check prior to their workouts.
• No gathering of more than 10 people at a time. Workouts will be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students working out together.
• There must be a minimum distance of six feet between everyone at all times.
• Locker rooms may be utilized if there is a minimum distance of six feet between each individual at all times.
• All coaches and students will be given a temperature check prior to their workout.
• No gathering of more than 10 people at a time inside. Up to 50 individuals may gather outside for workouts.
• Workouts will be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5-10 students working out together.
• Gatherings of up to 50 individuals are allowed indoors and outdoors.
• Students and coaches should maintain a minimum distance of three feet when not directly participating in practice or games.
In addition to those guidelines, The NFHS goes on to break sports down into three categories: Higher Risk, Moderate Risk, and Lower Risk.
Higher Risk: Football, wrestling, boys’ lacrosse, competitive cheer, and dance.
Moderate Risk: Baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball, soccer, gymnastics, water polo, field hockey, tennis, relay swimming, girls’ lacrosse, and some track events.
Lower Risk: Individual running events, individual swimming, golf, sideline cheer, and cross country running.
In addition, the NFHS also defines three tiers of people who should be allowed at such events. Only Tier 1 and Tier 2 will be allowed to attend events until state and local health departments lift the restrictions on mass gatherings.
Tier 1 (Essential): Athletes, coaches, officials, event staff, security, and medical staff.
Tier 2 (Preferred): Media.
Tier 3 (Non-essential): Spectators and vendors.
The official set of guidelines can be found at https://www.nfhs.org.