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What will the return of high school sports look like? OSAA releases guidelines for summer workouts

The guidelines follow the gradual phased reopening plan put into place by Gov. Kate Brown.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The organization that oversees high school sports in Oregon has laid out guidance to administrators, coaches, parents and students about what a return to workouts should look like amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Oregon School Activities Association said its suspension of facilities and coach-student physical interaction, currently in place until May 25, won’t be extended.

“Beginning May 26, member schools control what they will allow to take place at their school facilities with athletic/activities programs, in accordance with directives from Governor Brown, the Oregon Heath Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE),” the OSAA said in a news release Wednesday.

The question of if high school sports will return next school year is still undetermined and will ultimately be up to government and health officials. The OSAA admitted there will likely be a variation in what sports and activities are allowed over the next year. But still, the organization is remaining optimistic.

“The Board remains committed to administering sports/activities this fall, provided it can be done safely in accordance with guidance from our state educational and medical partners,” the OSAA said.

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But with the OSAA set to end its moratorium-like suspension, there is the possibility in-person workouts could resume soon for coaches and students in some areas of the state.

The OSAA released a set of guidelines for the safety precautions that need to be taken for these workouts. The guidelines follow the gradual phased reopening plan put into place by Gov. Kate Brown. Since the state has only released detailed information about the first phase of reopening, the OSAA has also only put out guidance for counties that are in Phase 1. Further guidance for the second and third phases of reopening will be released once details from the governor’s office are in place.

The OSAA’s guidelines are both general and sport specific.

Here are a few examples of general rules for counties in Phase 1:

  • All students and coaches should be screened daily for symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature greater than 100.3 degrees should not be allowed to participate and be sent home.
  • People who may be vulnerable to the coronavirus should not supervise or participate in activities.
  • Weight equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after each person’s use.
  • Locker rooms should not be utilized.

Here are a few examples of sport-specific guidelines for counties in Phase 1:

  • Football: A player should not participate in drills with a single ball that will be handed off or passed to other teammates. Contact with other players is not allowed, and there should be no sharing of tackling dummies/donuts/sleds. Protective equipment is prohibited.
  • Soccer: Each player has their own ball for drills. Drills should be feet-focused (no heading/use of hands), and not involve contact with other players.
  • Basketball: No contact or sharing of balls. A player must shoot with a ball(s), but a team should not practice/pass a single ball among the team where multiple players touch the same ball.

Under OSAA policy, participation by students in summer sports/activities can not be required by coaches or schools.

The OSAA also recognized that guidance based on which phase of the state’s reopening plan a county is in could lead to some inequities, but advocated “for returning students to school-based athletics and activities and allowing youth sports organizations to operate in any and all situations where it can be done safely.”

Click here to see the full guidance for every sport

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