Tuesday, 26 May 2020 23:45

Two weeks added to NCHSAA dead period, June 15 eyed as return date

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CHAPEL HILL — Despite several states across the nation, and many in the southeast, making the decision to lift their respective athletic dead periods, North Carolina is headed in the other direction.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday that its Board of Directors voted Monday via a Zoom meeting to extend the sports hiatus “through at least June 15.” 

That’s an extra two weeks than the previous proposed date of June 1. The decision to prolong the dead period was a unanimous decision by the Board.

States like Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and most recently Oklahoma, made announcements over the past week that high school sports will resume summer practices either immediately or over the next week and a half.

NCHSAA commissioner Que Tucker held a press conference on Zoom with media members Tuesday afternoon to share details about the Association’s plans moving forward.

“The Board of Directors also directed staff and the NCHSAA’s medical advisory committee to work with the Board in the coming weeks to finalize the plans for phase two of the NCHSAA’s return to athletic activities,” Tucker said in a formal statement to the media.

“These plans are already in the works. But as more information is learned about the virus, how it spreads and how that spread can be limited, precautions are being added and revised to ensure that we are doing all that we can from a health and safety perspective to limit the spread of the virus.

“These recommendations will fall within guidance provided by the Governor and the staff last week taken into consideration by recommendations by the CDC, the NFHS and other appropriate sources. 

“It is the goal of the NCHSAA to provide these guidelines for a safe return by member schools in advance to allow LEAs an appropriate amount of time to implement check-in and check-out procedures for workouts, providing screening for COVID-19 and education to coaches relative to how to maintain appropriate social distancing while providing our students with an opportunity to resume conditioning and training activities with their teammates,” she continued.

Tucker added that the NCHSAA and its Board of Directors are being “very deliberate in their tasks,” which she explained the reason why the state hasn’t “rushed to resume activities.”

The extension, she said, will also allow coaches and athletic directors time to formulate written plans on how to properly carry out summer workout plans that are “different” than years past. 

It is also the hope that athletic programs will be able to obtain the “necessary sanitation materials” needed to help disinfect equipment and locker rooms. These materials include hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, gloves and masks, hand washing stations and safe hydration stations. 

While Tucker and the NCHSAA remain hopeful that student-athletes, coaches and all athletic programs can return to their respective playing fields soon, she noted that a definitive date is not a guarantee because of the coronavirus.

“As you know, this is unprecedented territory,” Tucker said to the media. “As we hope to return to activities by mid June, we know that conditions change rapidly relative to this virus. The Board members, our staff and our sports medicine advisory committee will continue to use the most up-to-date information available to guide decisions about when and how a return to athletic activity could happen.”

Other talking points noted during the hour-long press conference included the NCHSAA not considering moving sports seasons (such as fall sports moving to the spring schedule) and that the intended official start of the fall sports season remains as Aug. 1, the normal annual start date.

This is a developing story and the Richmond Observer will continue to update any changes made by the NCHSAA regarding the return of high school athletics.

Pride Block
Kyle Pillar

Sports Editor. IUP communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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