WELLSBORO — The Wellsboro Area School District school board held a special meeting on Tuesday, June 16 to vote on the proposed return to play guidelines for fall sports, including offseason workouts.
The guidelines laid out by the proposal include a few major changes to how coaches and players will need to conduct play, but also sets out other safety measures to keep parents, players and coaches safe.
A few of the major changes highlighted in the guidelines were that COVID-19 screenings are to take place prior to any practice, event or team meeting that include detailed records of each player, coach and staff on a daily basis.
“We will have a sheet, documentation that students’ temperatures will be taken and that they are asked about fevers, coughs and sore throats, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea or coming in close contact with someone that has been known to have it. Those will be documented at each practice, with each player,” Superintendent Brenda Freeman commented on the documentation aspect of the guidelines.
Another change laid out in the guideline was the encouraging of social distancing through increased spacing, small groups and limited mixing between groups. This will include smaller groups taking part in team workouts as well as keeping those groups the same throughout workout periods to limit mixing.
Also, players, coaches and staff, as of now, will be asked to wear face shields or masks in any practice session during this period of time when not actively competing. “There is a little bit of a clause, when we get the opening of our sports, we will revisit that,” Freeman said.
“I will ask for a short special meeting the very first week of August, so that we can discuss these things a little further to see what phase we are still in, and to see what our concessions are as far as allowing spectators, allowing concessions and allowing face masks or shields during play,” Freeman said.
One comment, made by board member Tracy Doughtie, addressed the importance of spreading the message to parents and players that they should check the student athletes’ temperature before going to practice in order to possibly prevent the spread by coming in contact with other players.
“I think it is very important we spread the message that they should actually check their temperatures before they come, and if they are sick, stay home because the problem is if they come with a fever, they get to our facility, they’re sick, and then they’ve exposed the people who are there,” Doughtie said.
Another issue presented by the board was the lack of clarity on if and how many spectators will be allowed to be in attendance with some of the guidelines not being entirely specific with the new guidelines stating schools in the green phase would be allowed either groups of 250 or to be filled at 50% capacity, whichever is less.
The new guidelines state that only tier one and tier two personnel will be allowed to attend games which include athletes, coaches, officials, event staff, medical staff, security, and media/parents based on the number of participants and location of event. No tier three attendants will be allowed at this time which include vendors and regular spectators.
The school board here approved the proposal for guidelines for reopening athletics by a unanimous vote of six votes to zero.
The full document for the guidelines for reopening athletics can be found at the Wellsboro School District website as well as the Wellsboro Athletics website.