CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Following W.Va. Gov. Jim Justice’s announcement regarding youth and student sports activities Friday afternoon, the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission (WVSSAC) has released guidelines for school systems to use in the re-start of summer athletic training.
The guidelines call for a phased training approach that will begin on June 8.
Phase I: June 8 – June 19
The WVSSAC guidelines state this period is to focus on strength training and conditioning at outdoor facilities only.
10 students practicing proper social distancing of six feet apart would only be allowed to train at a time. Officials say those students must remain in that ‘pod’ of 10 for the duration of phases one and two. A list of students in each ‘pod’ should be recorded and the WVSSAC is recommending that training for student athletes only last one hour per day.
Phase II: June 22 – July 3
According to the WVSSAC, restrictions would be loosened during phase two, which would take place between June 22 and July 3
At this time, students will be allowed back inside indoor facilities and the time limit for training would increase to two hours.
Also, while students must remain in their assigned ‘pod’, up to 25 students will be allowed in a designated areas.
Phase III: County established three week training period
Low and moderate risk sports, as identified by the National Federation of High Schools, will be permitted to participate in this phase, the WVSSAC says.
No competitions or interactions between schools will be allowed but three hours of activity per day will be permitted.
Also at this time, 50 students will be allowed in a designated area with social distancing guidelines still in place.
WVSSAC also released the following guidelines for sports that are considered high risk, such as football, competitive cheer and wrestling:
More emphasis on individual position group drills
No drills are permitted that have body to body contact (Air only)
No handheld shields may be used
No equipment (i.e. helmets, shoulder pads, etc.) permitted
Groups must be less than 25 participants
Cheerleaders may not practice/perform partner stunts or building
Tumbling, sideline chants, jumps and dances without contact are permitted
No outside assistance or choreographers may be used.
WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan
“ The summer period is strictly voluntary and that each county board of education has the ultimate authority to determine if school will even participate.”
“Over the last several weeks, the WVSSAC staff has been working diligently to develop guidelines for the “re-start” of school based, summer athletics. We understand the important role that athletics play in the lives of our student athletes, coaches, parents, and communities. The guidelines were developed with one major focus – to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our student athletes and school staffs to the greatest extent possible given the most current information we have at this time regarding COVID-19.”
“Things will look differently than they usually do during the summer, And while the limitations and restrictions may not be optimal, they at least give our student athletes and coaches an opportunity to come together and begin to reconnect and rebuild relationships in the safest way possible during this challenging time.”