Ottumwa athletes continue to prepare for action

Ottumwa strength and conditioning program coach Luke Goemaat helps students in the newly-renovated weight room at Ottumwa High School earlier this summer. High school fall sports are scheduled to be held in Iowa with guidelines being recommended for football, volleyball, cross-country, girls swimming and boys (4A) golf to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

OTTUMWA — Guidelines to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus have been announced for the upcoming Iowa high school fall sports season.

Both the Iowa High School Athletic Assocation and Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union sent out general guidelines for fall sports. Guidelines for each individual sport that will be played (football, volleyball, cross-country, girls swimming and boys golf) have also been sent out to schools across the state.

Student-athletes should be encouraged to frequently sanitize their hands before, during and after practice and competition. Non-touch hand sanitizers may be used. Student-athletes should have their own personal hand sanitizer.

Individuals should especially sanitize before touching “common” equipment or other items. Any equipment that is shared by student-athletes should be sanitized before and after practice as well as before and after competition.

Individuals should never share towels. Each individual should bring or be issued his/her own clean towel at the beginning of practice or competition. Towels should be laundered after each practice and game.

Locker rooms may be used and should be sanitized every day as well as after use by each and every group. Schools should coordinate with their maintenance departments regarding sanitizing.

All school-issued and personal clothing, equipment and other items should be taken home following practices and/or contests. Locker rooms should not be used as a storage area for clothing and/or equipment.

Players, coaches and others using locker rooms should maintain six feet of social distancing. This may require a rotating schedule for use of locker rooms to avoid congestion with a record of individuals in each rotation should be kept to facilitate contact-tracing if necessary.

Players, coaches and others using locker rooms are strongly encouraged to wear masks while in the locker room. Visitor locker room should be identified and should be sanitized prior to arrival of team and after departure of team.

Each individual student-athlete should have their own water container. If a hydration station (e.g. cooler) is provided, individuals must sanitize their hands prior to using the hydration station.

As an alternative practice, one person can be assigned to fill water bottles. That person should wear a mask and protective gloves.

Host schools may provide a water source for visitors. Visitors should bring their own hydration station.

Schools should implement spectator protocols by following CDC and local department of health guidelines regarding size of gatherings and social distancing. Spectators should use six feet social distancing.

Families may sit or stand together, but should social distance from others. Frequent reminders should be made via public address announcements.

Just as businesses may require customers to wear masks, schools may require spectators to wear masks. Press boxes and the scorer’s bench at each school should be limited to, in order of priority, essential personnel (scorekeepers, scoreboard operators, announcers), home and visitor coaching staffs for football and members of the media

Individuals in the press box and/or at scorer’s table should practice six feet of social distancing. Schools should communicate with media regarding protocols for practices and games.

It is recommended that space be provided for media game coverage that takes into consideration six feet of social distancing. Priority is recommended to be given to home team coverage, visiting team coverage and other coverage.

Procedures should be established regarding interview requests prior to/after practices and games, including identifying an area where interviews will be conducted. It is also recommended that a required advanced notice time-frame be established.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals provides guidance on school concession stands, with the latest update on July 24. If concession stands are open, patrons should practice six feet of social distancing.

All individuals utilizing the training room should wear a face mask at all times. Host site athletic training room should not be available for visiting team pregame and postgame treatments.

If a team travels without an athletic trainer, all pregame taping, bracing, etc., should be completed before departure to the game. Host site athletic trainer should be contacted prior to the trip to plan for any requested accommodations.

All taping/exam tables should be disinfected before and after each use. All taping/exam tables should be distanced at least six feet apart.

Cold and hot tubs should only be used by one individual at a time. Those tubs should be drained, cleaned and disinfected between individual use and at the beginning and end of every day.

This guidance is intended for high school varsity, sub-varsity, and junior high school activities as overseen by the IHSAA and IGHSAU. Sub-varsity and junior high sports are approved to resume IHSAA and IGHSAU activities in the 2020-21 school year.

Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.

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