The Maine Principal's Association issued updated guidelines on Thursday, July 30th for the opening of High School Athletics and Activities.

Highlights include

  • The fall sport committees are in the process of updating their bulletins.
  • In the sports of Soccer, Field Hockey, and Volleyball that the maximum number of games have been reduced to 10 with no minimum number of games.
  • In Football, schools will have seven weeks to complete a 6-game schedule.
  • Scheduling in Cross Country and Golf have not been revised.

Phase 3   Extended conditioning and acclimatization period (August 3 – Aug 16)

Use of indoor and outdoor facilities

  • All programs must remain voluntary.
  • Coaches should continue to track attendance of each student and adult daily.
  • Students and/or adults who have symptoms of COVID-19 illness or feel sick must stay home and only return with medical clearance.
  • Students and/or adults who have symptoms after arriving at a training session must leave the site and only return with medical clearance.
  • Use of outdoor and/or indoor (such as weight rooms, gyms, and wrestling rooms) facilities allowed.
  • Student groups or “pods” of 10 or less (indoors), but up to 100 students allowed in designated areas (outdoors).
  • Students stay in their “pod” for the duration of Phase 3.
  • All participants and adults should maintain proper social distancing.
  • Face masks/coverings are recommended when appropriate. In accordance with CDC guidance, “face coverings are not intended to protect the wearer, but rather to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 from the person wearing the mask (who may not have any symptoms of disease).” (CDC Consideration for Youth Sports, 2020) “Face coverings may be challenging for players (especially younger players) to wear while playing sports.” (CDC Consideration for Youth Sports, 2020) “Face coverings should be worn by coaches, youth sports staff, officials, parents, and spectators as much as possible.” (CDC Consideration for Youth Sports, 2020)
    • Cloth or disposable face coverings should be worn throughout each phase when not engaging in vigorous activity, such as when sitting on the bench, during chalk talks, interacting with an athletic trainer, etc.
    • Medical grade face coverings are not necessary. Cloth or disposable face coverings are acceptable.
    • Face coverings should not be worn when engaging in high intensity aerobic or anaerobic workouts, distance running, or swimming.
    • Plastic shields covering the entire face (or attached to a helmet) shall not be  allowed during activities. Their use during practices or competitions increases the risk of unintended injury to the person wearing the shield, their teammates, and/or opponents. (2020 NFHS Guidance for Opening up High School Athletics and Activities, 2020)
    • Coaches, officials, and other contest personnel should always wear cloth face (Artificial noisemakers such as an air horn or a timer system with an      alarm can be used to signal in place of a traditional whistle.) (2020 NFHS     Guidance for Opening up High School Athletics and Activities, 2020)

Activities are to be limited to conditioning, strength training, agility, and individual skill development.  Individual sport specific activities and equipment will be allowed, such as individual dribbling and shooting. Training and conditioning may begin to include sport specific/team oriented NON-COMPETITIVE drills utilizing one or more athletes but maintaining distancing – no rebounding, no set plays, no circumstantial plays (corners, special teams, etc.).  Field hockey goalies (in full gear) must undergo an acclimatization to heat protocol prior to exercise and activity in the goal.

  • No form of competition (including 1v1 drills) is allowed.
  • Limit of two hours of activities per student per day.
  • Students should bring their own water bottles. No sharing of water bottles or other personal items allowed
  • Disinfectants and hand sanitizers should be available on site.
  • Students and adults should practice frequent hand washing when in contact with others or with equipment (jump ropes, weights, etc. Any implements and equipment used must be sanitized between practices/sessions (steam cleaned, wiped down and allowed to dry, washed, etc.) For guidance on use and cleaning of gyms and weight rooms, please reference the CDC guidelines:
  • https://azgovernor.gov/sites/default/files/guidance_for_gyms_fitness_providers.pdfhttps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/cleaning-disinfecting-decision-tool.html 

    Phase 4    Extended conditioning and acclimatization period – Fall Sports Only (Football, Soccer, Field Hockey, Cross-Country, Volleyball and Golf)    (August 24 – September 7)

    Use of indoor and outdoor facilities

    • All programs must remain voluntary.
    • Coaches should continue to track attendance of each student and adult daily.
    • Students and/or adults who have symptoms of COVID-19 illness or feel sick must stay home and only return with medical clearance.
    • Students and/or adults who have symptoms after arriving at a training session must leave the site and only return with medical clearance.
    • Use of outdoor and/or indoor (such as weight rooms, gyms, and wrestling rooms) facilities allowed.
    • Student groups or “pods” of 10 or less (indoors), but up to 100 students allowed in designated areas (outdoors).
    • Students stay in their “pod” for the duration of Phase 4.
    • All participants and adults should maintain proper social distancing.
    • Face masks/coverings are recommended when appropriate. In accordance with CDC guidance, “face coverings are not intended to protect the wearer, but rather to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 from the person wearing the mask (who may not have any symptoms of disease).” (CDC Consideration for Youth Sports, 2020) “Face coverings may be challenging for players (especially younger players) to wear while playing sports.” (CDC Consideration for Youth Sports, 2020) “Face coverings should be worn by coaches, youth sports staff, officials, parents, and spectators as much as possible.” (CDC Consideration for Youth Sports, 2020)
      • Cloth or disposable face coverings should be worn throughout each phase when  not engaging in vigorous activity, such as when sitting on the bench, during chalk talks, interacting with an athletic trainer, etc.
      • Medical grade face coverings are not necessary. Cloth or disposable face coverings are acceptable.
      • Face coverings should not be worn when engaging in high intensity aerobic or anaerobic workouts, distance running, or swimming.
      • Plastic shields covering the entire face (or attached to a helmet) shall not be allowed during activities. Their use during practices or competitions increases the risk of unintended injury to the person wearing the shield, their teammates, and/or opponents. (2020 NFHS Guidance for Opening up High School Athletics and Activities, 2020)
  • Coaches, officials, and other contest personnel should always wear cloth face (Artificial noisemakers such as an air horn or a timer system with                            alarm can be used to signal in place of a traditional whistle.) (2020 NFHS              Guidance for Opening up High School Athletics and Activities, 2020)

Activities are to be limited to conditioning, strength training, agility, and individual skill development. Individual sport specific activities and equipment will be allowed, such as individual dribbling and shooting. Training and conditioning may begin to include sport specific/team oriented NON-COMPETITIVE drills utilizing one or more athletes but maintaining distancing – no rebounding, no set plays, no circumstantial plays (corners, special teams, etc.).  Field hockey goalies (in full gear) must undergo an acclimatization to heat protocol prior to exercise and activity in the goal.

DAILY SCREENING

A key component of safety as we resume athletic activity is the monitoring of symptoms and potential exposure related to COVID-19. To ensure the health and well-being of all people involved with athletic activities, a screening tool has been developed to monitor the onset of any of the following symptoms/contact:

A key component of safety as we resume athletic activity is the monitoring of symptoms and potential exposure related to COVID-19. To ensure the health and well-being of all people involved with athletic activities, a screening tool has been developed to monitor the onset of any of the following symptoms/contact:

SECTION 1: Symptoms

    • Temperature 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when taken by mouth
    • Sore throat
    • New uncontrolled cough that causes difficulty breathing (for students with chronic allergic/asthmatic cough, a change in their cough from baseline)
    • Diarrhea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
    • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever

SECTION 2: Close Contact/Potential Exposure

    • Had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with a person with confirmed COVID-19
    • Traveled to or lived in an area where the local, Tribal, territorial, or state health department is reporting large numbers of COVID-19 cases as described in the Community Mitigation Framework
    • Live in areas of high community transmission (as described in the Community Mitigation Framework) while the school remains open

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/community/schools-childcare/Daily-Home-Screening-for-Students-Checklist-ACTIVE-rev5A.pdf

  • Screening will be performed for athletes, coaches, and staff involved with activities
    • Screening should be performed prior to arrival
    • Record of attendance should be kept on file by the coach
  • Follow protocol for “YES” responses
    • If an athlete, staff member or coach answers ‘yes’ to any of the daily screening questions:
    • PRIOR to arrival
      • DO NOT REPORT TO SESSION
      • Report symptoms to member of the COVID-19 Response Team at the school
        • Athletic trainer
        • Coach
        • Nurse
      • Athlete should inform (coach/athletic trainer/nurse) of YES response
    • DURING session
      • Follow isolation protocol in place at specific venue
      • Contact with parent to detail steps required for further evaluation and treatment
      • Report symptoms to member of the COVID-19 Response Team at the school
        • Athletic trainer
        • Coach
        • Nurse

Any athlete, staff member or coach who has answered ‘yes’ to a daily screening tool may be asked for clarification by a member of the COVID-19 Response Team. If indicated, they must follow-up and return with a clearance note from a physician, following the CDC guidelines for return to activity.

FACE COVERINGS

As detailed earlier in this document, COVID-19 is considered a droplet-transmitted disease, spread from person to person through microscopic particles of saliva that are expelled from the mouth or nose when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. Face coverings can prevent these droplets from traveling in the air. As such, it is imperative that everyone involved with the return to athletic activity do their part to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets which includes the use of face coverings (masks)

  • All participants (athletes, coaches) provide their own mask for every training session
  • Disposable masks should be disposed of when appropriate
  • Cloth masks should be washed daily
  • Masking will be required when social distancing (6 Feet) cannot be maintained
  • Masks will not be worn during training periods of intense physical activity (outside or inside)
  • Masks will be worn while not involved in strenuous exercise
    • In bench area of field
    • Moving from field to field
    • Speaking with coach, athletic trainer
  • Masks should be worn properly
    • Cover nose and mouth
    • Bottom should be under chin
    • Ensure that you can breathe easily

 

HYDRATION and FOOD

In all phases of the MPA Guidelines there is strict direction that hydration stations NOT be used. The reasoning for this includes concern for the transmission of COVID-19 by touching common surfaces.

  • Athletes/Coaches/Staff will be required to bring their own water vessel
  • The vessel should contain enough water to maintain hydration throughout the workout
  • Water bottles will NOT be SHARED
  • Failure to arrive at a workout without water will result in the athlete not being able to participate that day
  • Food limited to only that required for medical purposes

INFECTION CONTROL

The National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS) guidance will be used for sanitizing athletic facilities and equipment to mitigate any communicable diseases. To find out if the disinfectants your school or facility is using have been registered by the EPA to be used to kill COVID-19, please reference: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19

***Appendix G contains a sample infection control policy to be fit for use at your facility

Important points of sanitization in your facility include but are not limited to:

  • Availability of hand sanitizer before, during and after every training session
    • Multiple stations should be available
  • Availability of clean workout clothing every training session
    • No sharing of clothing (pinnies, shoes, etc.)
  • Athletes must shower at home after each training session
  • No Spitting

Equipment that is used should be sanitized after each use