Alexander Central High School Athletic Department COVID-19 Return to Play Policies and Procedures
The Alexander Central High School Athletic Department is preparing to implement infection prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while student-athletes are participating in school athletic functions. As the state of North Carolina continues its phased reopening and with the ACHS Administration announcement of summer plans for athletics potentially restarting on July 6th if pandemic conditions in NC continue to improve, we want to prepare as much as possible to continue to provide a quality athletic experience for our student-athletes.
It is important that our school personnel (coaches, staff, and administration) begin to prepare in the anticipation of this dead period ending. Our staff along with our student-athletes will follow the policies outlined below from State, NCHSAA, and Local officials. The health and safety of our student-athletes is the utmost priority, and as such these policies will be strictly enforced.
This plan is an update that is being provided to our School System, Administration, Coaches, Players, Parents, and Community as we continue to navigate through these challenging times. Under no circumstances is this plan finalized and will most likely change as we continue to receive updates for the Governor, NCDHHS, NCHSAA, and the CDC. Additionally, we recognize that the Board of Education, Superintendent, Principal, and Athletic Director will discuss the resumption of all athletic activities.
Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure
Social distancing is a key tool we have to decrease the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing (“physical distancing”) means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people; do not gather in groups; stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings. Spectators are not allowed, parents can stay in their vehicles if desired.
Alexander Central High School will: ❑ Adhere to the most current Mass Gathering Limits and follow requirements and restrictions for large venues. (no more than 25 outside, no more than 10 indoors) ❑ Clearly provide 6 feet floor markings on entry areas, waiting lines, and other areas where there may be a group of people where they are necessary. (tape, chalk, cones) ❑ Designate and arrange specific equipment for use that is properly spaced at 6 feet apart. ❑ Consider workouts in groups/pods (5 to 10 per pod) of individuals with the same group always working out together, including weight training, to limit exposure should someone become sick.
❑ Remind individuals not to shake hands, give high fives, or fist pumps before, during, or after the practice. ❑ Individuals should refrain from any unnecessary physical contact with others. ❑ Coaches, athletes, and others should modify communication and avoid up-close face to face communication. ❑ Where possible, provide separate and clearly marked points of entry and exit for athletes and coaches. ❑ When sinks are not 6 feet apart, consider limiting use to every other sink so individuals can maintain social distancing while using. ❑ Weight-rooms and locker rooms will be closed ❑ Personal training services and fitness coaching should practice social distancing to the extent possible. When these services require physical contact between coach and athlete, wash hands immediately prior to and following the contact and face to face contact should be minimal.
Cloth Face Coverings
❑ It is strongly recommended (not required) that athletes, coaches, staff, and participants wear a cloth face covering when not actively engaged in physical activity or when they may be near (less than 6 feet from) other people. Artificial noisemakers such as an air horn or timers will be used to replace the traditional whistle. ❑ Will provide cloth face coverings for athletes, coaches, staff and participants. If provided, they must be single use or properly laundered using hot water and a high heat dryer between uses. ❑ Guidance will be shared with athletes, coaches, staff and participants on use, wearing, and removal of cloth face coverings, such as CDC’s guidance on wearing and removing cloth face masks, CDC’s use of cloth face coverings, and CDC’s cloth face coverings FAQ’s.
Protecting Vulnerable Populations
Information on who is at risk will be posted on our Athletic Website. Athletes and coaches who are at higher risk will be encouraged to not attend practices and workouts. (All summer practices and work-outs are optional for all athletes)
Cleaning and Hygiene
Washing hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer reduces the spread of transmission.
❑ Promote frequent use of hand washing and hand sanitizer for athletes, coaches, staff and participants. Require hand sanitizer of athletes, coaches, staff and participants upon arrival, after contact with other individuals, after performing cleaning and disinfecting activities, and frequently throughout the sports program or activity. ❑ Frequently check and refill hand sanitizers (at least 60% alcohol) and assure soap and hand drying materials are available at all sinks. ❑ Perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas (e.g., doors, doorknobs, rails, lockers, dressing areas) with an EPA approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), and increase disinfection during peak times or high customer density times.
❑ No sharing of equipment and assign individual equipment (e.g., batting gloves, catcher’s equipment, discs, racquets, balls) to avoid sharing between participants of assigned workout pods.
❑ Individuals should wear their own appropriate workout clothing and not share towels/clothing. Individual towels/clothing must be washed and cleaned after every workout.
❑ Disinfect all fitness and sports equipment (if provided) between pods or groups, with EPA approved disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2 with adequate contact time allowed for disinfectant as stated by manufacturer. If the equipment is to be cleaned by the individual, instructions on how to properly disinfect and appropriate contact time for disinfectant must be provided. ❑ Remind individuals to bring their own water bottles, and that those water bottles and food must not be shared. ❑ Limit the use of hydration stations for refilling purposes only. If participants fail to bring a personal water bottle one will be available for use. Designate one person to refill water bottles when needed ❑ If possible, avoid the use of items that are not easily cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.
Monitoring for Symptoms
Conducting regular screening for symptoms can help reduce exposure. Athletes, coaches, staff, and participants should be encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath. A touchless thermometer will be used to check athletes and coaches as they enter the facilities. It is encouraged that parents /drivers of athletes do not leave the parking lot until they see their athletes enter the faculty.
❑ The following plan will be in place for immediately removing athletes, coaches, staff and participants from activity or the sports setting if symptoms develop. Athletes, coaches, staff and participants who have symptoms when they arrive or become sick during the day will immediately be separated from other athletes, coaches, staff and participants and sent home.
- In the last 48 hours, have you experienced any of the following:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- In the last 48 hours, have you been around anyone suspected of or diagnosed with COVID-19?
If YES to any of the symptoms in Question 1 or to Question 2, that individual will be immediately sent home, parents notified, team physician, made aware and will be available to evaluate the individual, and will not be allowed to return for a minimum of 14 days, as outlined by CDC recommendations.
❑ Conduct symptom screening (use this standard interview questionnaire English|Spanish) of athletes, coaches, staff, and participants at the beginning of the sports activity with immediately sending symptomatic athletes, coaches, staff, and participants home to isolate. ❑ Signage at the main entrance requesting that people who have been symptomatic with fever and/or cough not enter, such as Know Your Ws/Stop if You Have Symptoms flyers (English – Color, Black & White; Spanish – Color, Black & White). ❑ Per CDC guidelines, if an athlete, coach, staff or participant has been diagnosed with COVID-19 but does not have symptoms, they should remain out of sports activity until 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. ❑ Require symptomatic athletes, coaches, staff and participants to wear masks until leaving the facility. Cleaning and disinfecting procedures should be implemented by designated personnel following CDC guidelines once the sick individual leaves.
Handling Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Positive Cases of Covid -19
If a person on the team tests positive for COVID-19, all members of that pod and those who had close contact with that individual should: 1. Quarantine (stay at home) until 14 days after your last exposure, unless you have a negative PCR COVID-19 test. 2. Check your temperature twice a day and watch for developing symptoms of COVID-19. 3. If possible stay away from people who are at higher risk for getting very sick contracting COVID-19
The local public health authority must be notified by the head coach (or designee) to help with contact tracing.
TO RESUME WORKOUTS, an athlete or coach must meet each of the following criteria: 1. No fever for 72 hours without fever-reducing medications, since recovery 2. Resolution of respiratory symptoms 3. At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared 4. A note of clearance from a licensed medical provider (MD, DO, NP, PA)
Documents provided by the NCHSAA for those athletes or coaches that were tested will be listed on the athletic website.
Summer Strength and Conditioning & Skill Development Session Guidelines
All on-line “Blue Forms” will need to be completed and signed by both parents and athletes prior to any summer workout or season participation. The “Blue Forms” can be found on our athletic website.
All student-athletes who had a valid Preparticipation Examination (PPE) form dated anytime between March 1, 2019 – May 1, 2020 (used for the 2019-2020 seasons) will be granted a temporary one-year extension through the end of the 2020-2021 academic year. If the student does not have a valid form from these dates, they will need an updated physical form prior to any summer workout or season participation. Please be reminded that the student-athlete/family medical history portion of the PPE Form is required annually and must be completed and signed by the parent or legal custodian prior to participation during the 2020-2021 academic year. There is no waiver or extension applied to this requirement
Coaches will be required to keep an accurate record of attendance and assigned workout groups/pods to ensure that athletes satisfactorily progress from one phase to the next and to allow for tracing purposes in the event of a suspected COVID-19 case
Athletic Administration will provide a schedule of facility use to allow for a minimum of 30 minutes between each sport-specific group to allow for disinfecting and sanitizing of the room and equipment. Fall sports will take priority over other seasons. This also will allow us to reduce the risk of violating occupancy guidelines.
Sessions may last no longer than 1 ½ hours, and athletes may participate no more than 1 1/2 hours total. (Weight Training, Skill Development, Conditioning). Athletes will only be allowed to participate in one sport throughout the summer. This is to keep the spread of the virus to a minimum.
There will be no outside competition or travel permitted until NCHSAA allows. Alumni and other outside individuals are not permitted to participate in any activities that involve ACHS student-athletes. ACHS will not host or provide any summer camps for youth due to the risk and liability of students who are out of our guidance and abilities to monitor. All out of County travel will be suspended for summer activities nor will we host outside systems in a competition setting.