Danville schools prepare for sports, extracurricular activities
Student athletes in the Danville middle and high schools are about to hear the opening whistle for team workouts to begin, if strict regulations are followed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are still no plans as to what, if any, athletic seasons will look like.
Danville Superintendent Dr. Tammy McDonald told the board during its working session on Monday that the Kentucky High School Athletics Association has listed very detailed protocols that schools, coaches, staff and team members must follow, if the districts vote to allow practices.
The board will vote on its COVID-19 athletics plan at its next meeting on Tuesday, June 16. Danville High School Principal Thad Elmore, along with Assistant Principal Ernest Dunn, Athletics Director Lisa Fisher and district administrators have worked over the past three to four weeks looking at alternatives and weighing all the options, Elmore said.
Elmore said they are “methodically” putting the protocols and screening forms in place because they will also be used for the band members and all other students who participate in extracurricular activities.
Elmore said the coaches and staff will be meeting several times to go over COVID-19 restrictions and to make sure “kids are very aware of the regulations.”
“Actually, the plan will be for all extracurricular activities, not just athletics,” he said.
“Mrs Fisher … has been invaluable in designing with input from the KHSAA, CDC, local health department and others to design a well-thought-out plan,” Elmore added.
McDonald said the KHSAA has announced that student workouts can take place from June 15-28; and low contact drills, in small groups, can run from June 29-July 12.
McDonald said the KHSAA has not made any determinations as to how sports will continue past July 12, or what the seasons would look like.
Some of the highlights the association has endorsed include:
- When workouts begin, probably right after the board votes on Tuesday morning, McDonald said every student, coach and staff member will have to submit a COVID screening form every day for the school to have on file. If someone fails the screening, they will be sent home immediately and the coaches are to report the incident to the athletics director and contact the student’s parents or guardian.
- Coaches are to supervise the cleaning of equipment and educate students on the sanitizing protocols, McDonald explained.
- All workout sessions will be voluntary, McDonald said, and it won’t be held against the athlete when the season begins, if they miss the workouts due to illness.
- Facial masks must be worn at all times, “except during physically exerting tasks during practice,” McDonald said. And masks must be worn when entering and exiting the building.
- No student carpooling will be allowed, and students must only be taken and picked up by a family member or drive themselves.
- When practice begins on June 29, the teams will be broken into small “pods” of 10 people — one coach and nine players. Coaches will determine who is in a pod, McDonald said, and that group will attend meetings, conditionings and workout sessions together. That way if someone does test positive for the virus, “It will be easy to contain within the small group,” McDonald said.
- Athletes are to bring their own water bottles with their names written on them. And they are to be dressed for practice because the restrooms won’t be available for changing, she said.
- Athletics director and trainers will make random practice checks to make sure protocols are being followed.
McDonald said they are still working to formalize a document for workouts to begin, and expects the board to approve it Tuesday morning.
Board chair Steve Becker said some parents have asked if the coaches, staff and players will be required to be tested for the virus before practice begins.
Elmore said he hadn’t been asked that question. Board member Wade Stanfield said he didn’t think testing just once would be beneficial because someone could be exposed the next day.
Becker suggested that Danville Pediatrics, which is the school system’s student health care provider, be asked what they suggest the district could do to further help protect students and staff.
If the board does approve the plan, students will be allowed to condition and do other activities following strict guidelines and protocol. First and foremost is the safety of the student staff and families of DHS,” Elmore said.
SO YOU KNOW
To see the complete KHSAA guidelines go to: https://khsaa.org/covid19june1tojuly12/