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Youth, prep sports teams back to work

• Buckeye Local is first area football team to begin conditioning

YORKVILLE — Tuesday was the first day that members of the Ohio High School Athletic Association were permitted to practice football under specific guidelines outlined by the organization due to ther global COVID-19 pandemic.

Buckeye Local was the first area squad to hit the field as head coach Robert Herbert is in the fourth year of his rebuilding process.

The OHSAA released a set of guidelines that is broken down into several phases.

“We are all very excited to get back to work. There are guidelines that we have to follow in Phase 1 that was set in place by the OHSAA,” he said. “We have to modify practices to limit the number of players and groups. It will be an adjustment for the players and coaches, but we think this is a positive step n the right direction for us being able to play football this fall.

“We also check the temperature of every player as he/she enters the stadium and we log that along with every players name that shows up for each practice session,” he added. “I am very proud of our athletes for continuing to lift while we have been away. This shows their dedication to fully turning this program around.

“Last year we won a few games for the first time in five years, but a couple of wins were never the ultimate goal,” he stressed. “We want to get to that next step, and I truly believe we are on track.”

According to the OHSAA, it will continue to work in collaborationwith Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and the Ohio Department of Health to adhere to any and all state orders and/or recommendations.

Each OHSAA member school’s athletic department will operate with the approval of their school leadership in moving forward through any and all “Return to Play” guidance throughout the summer.

The governmental leadership in the state of Ohio, or that of the school district, may halt or regress the phases described below if deemed necessary.

The OHSAA believes it is essential to the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes in grades 7-12 to return to physical activity and build team relationships with their peers and coaches.

The Panthers had approximately 35-40 athletes show up at World War II Memorial Stadium in sweltering conditions. The broke into several groups of less than 10 and went through drills while under the direction of Herbert and his staff, all the while obeying the 6-foot social distancing restriction.

Under the guidelines, every school/program should start at Phase 1 of this program and remain there for at least 14 calendar days. If there is a downward/flat trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period, a school may progress to Phase 2, where a new 14-day period of tracking of cases should begin. If there is another 14-day downward/flat trajectory of cases, schools may progress to Phase 3.

“We are a little unique in that we have kids that reside in two different counties, but due to our school being located in Jefferson County we have to abide by whatever local health rules they may institute,” Herbert noted.

Face Covering Guidance: Decreasing potential exposure to respiratory droplets is the guiding principle behind social distancing and the use of face coverings, according to the guidelines. The use of cloth face coverings is meant to decrease the spread of respiratory droplets. As state and local COVID-19 prevalence decreases, the need for strict social distancing and the use of face coverings will lessen.

Limitations on Gathering: Gatherings should not consist of more than 10 people at a time (inside or outside), to include all participants and coaches. Locker rooms should not be used during Phase 1. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at the end of the workout.

Facilities Cleaning: Adequate cleaning schedules should be created and implemented for all athletic facilities.

Prior to an individual or group entering a facility, all hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized. Hard surface examples include but are not limited to chairs, furniture, locker rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms, and training tables.

Individuals should wash their hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts.

Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and available to individuals.

Weight equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after each individual uses the equipment.¯Shirts and shoes should be worn at all times.

Any equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, that haveholes with exposed foam should be covered.¯Students should be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning home.

Physical Activity and Athletic Equipment:

There should be no shared athletic equipment (towels, clothing, shoes, or sport specific equipment) between students.

Students should wear their own workout clothing, and clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout.

Individual drills requiring the use of athletic equipment can be permissible, but the equipment should be cleaned between use of each individual.

All students should bring their own water bottle, and water bottles should not be shared. Hydration stations (water fountains, water troughs, etc.) should not be used.

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