BATON ROUGE, La. (The Livingston Parish News) – It’s taken some time to get to this point, but it’s official.
The Louisiana High School Athletic Association issued guidelines Wednesday allowing for the start of summer activities on Monday.
“You and I both know how important sports are,” LHSAA Assistant Executive Director Karen Hoyt said Wednesday after a meeting of the group’s executive committee. “They’re extremely, extremely, important, and everybody wants things back to some kind of normalcy, regardless of who you are and what your views are about anything else in the world, I think that sports is something that actually brings us together, and I think that it’s important to be able to have that.”
The guidelines, which are based on recommendations from the National Federation of State High School Associations and the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, can be found here, and cover a variety of topics.
Louisiana will move into Phase II of reopening Friday, with some notable changes. Group sizes can expand from 10 people to 25 or less, including adults, in one enclosed location or outdoors with social distancing between multiple groups.
Baseball, cheerleading, gymnastics, softball and volleyball are ‘limited contact sports’ allowed in Phase II, while conditioning is allowed for basketball, football, soccer and wrestling. Bowling, cross country, golf, powerlifting, swimming, tennis, weightlifting and non-contact outdoor camps are also allowed.
Intra-squad scrimmages and matches and 7-on-7 events are not included in Phase II, and many of the health-related guidelines closely match those put forth by the Livingston Parish Public School System earlier this week.
“Now it puts the onus on things back on the school districts,” Springfield principal Spencer Harris, an LHSAA Executive Committee member, said. “The LHSAA has never fully governed summers, so all we did was back it up. We moved it to June 8 to give people a time to get their plan together to try to make sure that everyone was on the same page, but now that the governor moved us to Phase II, I think it’s time for the schools to work that out.”
The guidelines recommend all students and coaches be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 before workouts and focus on cleaning of facilities and social distancing.
“Right now, it’s about … when kids come up, let’s make sure that we’re sanitary, we’re as clean as possible,” Harris said. “We’re going to document it, and we do good job. We try to get them in and work them out, but we want to make sure that we follow the safety precautions set forth.”
Hoyt also confirmed reports of multiple schools being in violation of the summer rules by starting early.
“The ones that we have documentation on, we are investigating,” Hoyt said.
“We have been given some video and some pictures,” she said. “Now, who are those people in there, I don’t know. If we get the evidence, well then we investigate. I mean, we have to have evidence.”
Rob DeArmond | The News