Tuesday, 04 August 2020 19:24

BREAKING: RCS officials clear high school sports to begin Thursday

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HAMLET — High school sports are back.

The return of interscholastic sports was one of the talking points during Richmond County Schools’ Board of Education meeting on Tuesday. And after nearly five months without sports, the fall sports season will begin later this week.

Richmond Senior High School’s athletic director Rob Ransom spoke about the school’s proposed “return-to-play” protocols. He presented to the Board a comprehensive plan that would allow fall sports workouts to begin as early as Thursday, August 6. 

He confirmed via a text message that student-athletes and coaches were cleared to begin workouts on Thursday, roughly an hour after the meeting.

Ransom added that the NCHSAA has issued a dead period for the week of August 17 through August 21, but workouts could resume August 24.

Ransom and Richmond’s fall sports coaches, as well as several winter and spring sports coaches, met last week to pitch plans to safely return high school athletics to Richmond County. 

Last week’s meeting saw the athletics department discuss how Raiders and Lady Raiders will begin the new sports season while following state, CDC and North Carolina High School Athletic Association guidelines.

Ransom informed the Board that six of the seven fall sports programs have presented practice plans. Those programs were football, boys’ soccer, volleyball, cross country, girls’ tennis and cheerleading. Girls’ golf doesn’t have any pre-season workouts.

“The High School Athletic Association gave us a lot of guidance in developing our plans,” Ransom said, as he displayed the NCHSAA’s official guidelines for Board members to look at. “There is a lot of information covered (in the guidelines).

“I summarized some of (the guidelines) to make it simpler for our coaches to develop a plan,” he continued. “We wanted to hit on the key areas and we boiled it down to eight different criteria.”

Some of the criteria that he delivered to the Board was:

Cleaning Facilities — cleaning schedule for facilities are being created and hand sanitizer stations will be made available.

Entrance and Exit — procedures for athletes and coaches to safely enter and exit practice areas. Temperature checks, a symptoms questionnaire and a daily login sheet to track each athlete. Athletes will go to designated holding areas before workouts begin.

Limits of Gatherings — The NCHSAA’s Phase Two allows for 90-minute workouts of up to 25 people (outdoors) and 10 people (indoors). Football, because so large, would use three different sites to allow the team to meet, and hold two sessions (Raider Stadium, practice field and Ninth Grade Academy).

Face Coverings — face masks are recommended for student-athletes, but not required when working out, especially if groups are socially distanced.

Superintendent Dr. Jeff Maples asked Ransom to clarify the difference between “workouts and practice,” which are often used interchangeably.

“Working on conditioning is what we’re focused on right now,” Ransom said. “With workouts, very little equipment can be used. We’re trying to get back adjusted to normal.

“Workouts are more of just conditioning and focusing on the proper way to do a skill,” he continued. “Practice is more of the xs and os, using the equipment and putting in more team concepts.”

He emphasized that the NCHSAA is not permitting practice at this time, which has been designated for the week following the Sept. 1 dead period.

Ransom credited RCS’ maintenance department and associate superintendent Dennis Quick for working quickly to get the athletics department the necessary sanitizing equipment. 

He also said most of Richmond’s workouts will take place outside, and volleyball may be inside or outside, depending on the numbers of participants.

This is a developing story.

Last modified on Tuesday, 04 August 2020 19:41

Kyle Pillar

Three-time award-winning sports editor. Indiana University of Pennsylvania communications media and journalism alumni. English teacher, Ninth Grade Academy.

Submit local sports scores to: kpillar@richmondobserver.com

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