Will June 9 and June 10 suffice as the new June 8 for local LHSAA high school teams eager to start altered summer practice plans in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?
As Tropical Storm Cristobal inches closer to shore, some schools in the Baton Rouge metro area decided to put the first practice at school facilities since mid-March on hold for at least a day.
Ascension Parish, Iberville and West Baton Rouge decided to cancel their Monday workouts. Ascension and Iberville plan to begin Tuesday.
East Baton Rouge Parish high schools were told Saturday night to plan a delayed start for Monday workouts and be on the lookout for added guidance Sunday after Cristobal is scheduled to make landfall.
“Our assistant superintendents make the final decisions and they’re still looking at this,” EBR supervisor of athletics/health & physical education Lynn Williamson said. “I am texting our 11 athletics directors now to tell them to plan on starting workouts at later times Monday. I am also telling them (Sunday) we may more information for them.”
Catholic High, Zachary High and Lutcher also are planning to track the storm’s path a little longer.
St. James High announced early Saturday that its teams won’t practice Monday. Two independent school districts, Central and Baker, also contacted coaches and athletes to tell them their Monday workouts are canceled.
Central, according to athletic director Sid Edwards, will wait until Wednesday to begin its workouts. Some Parkview Baptist teams also cancelled their Monday workouts by late Saturday.
“Was so looking forward to Monday,” Edwards said in a text. “We waited this long. So we shall begin on Wednesday.”
A parents’ check list
Each school district and individual private schools have developed workout game plans based on LHSAA, department of education, state and NFHS guidelines.
The plans are not identical. But there is a lot of common ground including: no available locker rooms, six-foot social distancing and groups of no more than 24 students per coach.
Parents can also expect their student-athletes to face health/temperature screenings daily. Sanitizing of equipment after each individual use and session, hourly sanitizing of used surfaces like benches and no shared drinks are a few other fundamental guidelines.
Many schools have distributed guidelines. Some include instructions for parents. St. Amant High athletic trainer Scott Arceneaux said the “to do” list for parents of athletes is basic and crucial.
“One of the most important things to do as a parent is keep your child home if they are sick,” Arceneaux said. “Obviously, if your child has COVID symptoms or has been exposed to anyone who has it, that needs to be reported to the school immediately.
“Make sure your children understand they can’t share items like drinks or food with other students. If you send drinks with your child, those items should have their name on them.”
Arceneaux said coaches will handle social distancing and other requirements during practices. He suggests students wear face masks if they are sharing rides to and from workouts. A shower and laundry after practices also must be routine.
“Students should take off their workout clothes as soon as they get home and shower. Clothes need to be washed right away because you don’t want them to sit around a laundry room where bacteria can spread,” Arceneaux said. “We need to follow the guidelines at school and at home to give ourselves the best chance to play in the fall.”