Conditioning open for school sports starting June 8

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Franklin County athletes will be able to return to training on June 8, according to a plan put forth by the Georgia High School Association.

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  • Franklin County athletes will be able to return to training on June 8, according to a plan put forth by the Georgia High School Association.
    Franklin County athletes will be able to return to training on June 8, according to a plan put forth by the Georgia High School Association.
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CARNESVILLE – Franklin County athletes will be able to return to training on June 8, according to a plan put forth by the Georgia High School Association.

Member schools will be able to meet with athletes in small groups for conditioning only during June.

Athletics have been on hold since schools statewide were closed to students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“As the data related to COVID-19 continues to improve, restrictions may be reduced after input from our health care professionals and guidance from our Governor,” the guidelines from the GHSA said.  

The GHSA set forth a long list of requirements for schools to follow during the conditioning period.

Schools may choose to be more restrictive than the guidelines but may not be less restrictive.

The guidelines set forth are:

• All summer work is voluntary.

• Workouts are conditioning only, no balls or sport specific equipment.

• Member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning.

• It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout.

• Signage should be posted on site with the following:

– Do you or have you had a fever in the last week?

– Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?

– Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19?

– Have you traveled to a “hot spot” for COVID-19?

• Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus/facility.

• Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Student or coaches cannot change groups for the duration of this guidance.

• No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.

• Weight equipment should be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student.

• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and readily available.

• Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains or “water cows” is allowed.

• Side spots only in weight training, safety bars are preferred.

• Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended for the weight room.

• At least 15 minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility.

• There is no competition allowed between schools.

• No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions.

Franklin County Athletic Director Jason Oliver said he has met with coaches to set forth a plan and deal with the logistics in the rules.

Franklin County will have two coaches per workout group so that coaches, who typically vacation in June, can do so without the entire group having to shutdown while the coach is away.

Each group of 20 athletes will be split between the weight room and field work, Oliver said.

Splitting the groups allows for each athlete in the weight room to have his or her own machine, which will cut down on the number of times the equipment must be cleaned between users.

Oliver said there are still questions that will have to be dealt with before sports can take the field in the fall.

Currently, should one athlete be diagnosed with the coronavirus, then he or she and the entire group in his or her workout will have to be quarantined for 14 days.

If those restrictions are not relaxed, it will be hard for sports to move on, Oliver said, because an entire team could be quarantined for 14 days – with no practice or conditioning – because one member is diagnosed.

“People are going to get it,” Oliver said, so a system will have to be put in place to deal with that.

“We’re going to have to go a long way from where we are right now to having a football game on Friday nights,” Oliver said.

Still, the coach said it is important for coaches and athletes to concentrate on conditioning and see what happens.

“We’re making plans for June,” he said.