A new look for area sports

Wednesday, July 22, 2020
Cassville athletes, fans and administrators will be under a new set of guidelines outlined by the Missouri State High School Activities Association this week for the 2020-2121 season. Jared Lankford/sports@cassville-democrat.com

State association issues guidelines for season

The million dollar high school sports question on everyone’s mind has been, will the schools play sports this fall due to COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

The answer, as of today, is a tentative “yes.”

The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) issued an eight-page guidance this week for high schools to follow in an attempt to play sports in a socially responsible manner to combat the spread of coronavirus.

“The COVID-19 pandemic presents state high school associations with a myriad of challenges,” the release said. “The MSHSAA Board of Directors and MSHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) offers this document as guidance on how our state association can consider approaching the many components of ‘opening up’ sports and activities in preparation for the fall seasons, and beyond.”

MSHSAA has directed that the schools designate a point-person to oversee the implementation and be the source of official information for the new policies.

The new procedure are as follows:

Gatherings

Gatherings sizes and/or group restrictions are determined by local and state health departments.

• Upon initial return to participation, gatherings should be limited to no more than the current local recommended gathering size, indoors or outdoors. Increasing or decreasing tolerances for group sizes shall be determined by local and state health department.

• When initiating practices/rehearsals, it may be reasonable to consider having groups that practice/rehearse together in smaller numbers to avoid the potential of large numbers of participants or coaches/directors having to quarantine if anyone tests positive for COVID-19. (Example: Have similar-position players/instrumentalists in different groups; have varsity and lower level teams in separate groups).

• Break into small groups for rest breaks and water breaks during practice. Do not congregate.

• When not directly participating in practices, rehearsals or contests, care should be taken to maintain current social distancing between each individual. Consider using tape or paint as a guide for students and coaches/directors.

Screening

• Schools must appoint an individual(s) who will be responsible for ensuring screening is implemented and any positive screen or test must meet the protocols for return to participation.

• Before practices/rehearsals, track body temperatures (100.4 or greater) and symptoms of coaches, directors, staff, players, participants, etc. Temperature screening may be done at home, documented and presented upon arrival to the school. If home temperatures are >=100.4 the participant must stay home and not come to practice/rehearsals/competition. Temperature screening may be done upon arrival to the school, if a temperature is 100.4 or greater (recommend using a no touch thermometer) the individual should be moved to an indoor environment for five minutes prior to having the temperature retaken. If temperatures remain at 100.4 or greater it indicates a positive screen.

• Every coach/director and participant is required to wear a mask or face covering until screening is completed, showing no signs or symptoms.

• If a participant, coach/director, or official/adjudicator has a positive finding on their COVID-19 screen, he/she should be sent home immediately. If the participant’s parents are not present, escort the participant to a designated isolation room or an area away from others. He/she must wear a mask or face covering. The participant/coach/director is to be referred to a health care provider or a local COVID screening hotline.

Additionally, the schools will be responsible for coordinating with city and county officials regarding crowd sizes at games.

Social distancing at events

• Schools are encouraged to offer live streaming of games/contests/performances to reduce attendance at events so that current gathering size and social distancing can be met.

• Sidelines/benches/performance and participant areas: Social distancing guidelines established by local and/or state health departments will need to be maintained on sidelines/benches/performance and participant areas during contests and events. Consider using tape or paint as a guide for participants and coaches/directors.

• Who should be allowed at events? Group people into tiers from essential to non-essential and decide which tiers will be allowed at an event if local and or state health department guidelines restrict group sizes. Only Tier 1 and 2 personnel will be allowed to attend events until state/local health departments lift restrictions on mass gatherings.

• Tier 1 (Essential): Participants, Coaches/Directors, Officials/Adjudicators, Event Staff, Medical Staff, Security

• Tier 2 (Preferred): Media

• Tier 3 (Non-essential): Spectators, vendors

The complete list of guidelines is posted https://issuu.com/monetttimes/docs/2020-2021_mshsaa_guidelines-recommendations_f....

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