Today is the first official day of practice for high school baseball and softball around the state on the delayed start of the summer sports season because of Covid-19. The Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union released guidelines last week of how they expect school officials, coaches and players to handle the safety precautions.
Here is a list of the main items pertaining to practices:
A school district can make the determination to cancel its season at any time. If concerns are raised regarding the number of COVID-19 cases, the respective county or state department of health can cancel a school’s season.
If a player has a positive test to COVID-19, the local school district must contact the county’s department of public health, which will provide guidelines regarding the next steps.
All students are academically eligible.
Players and coaches should have their temperature checked before attending practices. If a student-athlete has a temperature of 100.3 or above, they should not attend practices or games. Schools are not responsible for checking temps but may choose to do so. Players and coaches are encouraged to use sanitizing wipes after contact with any shared equipment. Players are encouraged to shower and wash their clothing immediately upon returning home.
Dugouts are not to be used during practice. Players’ items should be lined up against a fence at least 6 feet apart.
The recommendation is for workouts in “pods” of students, with the same 5-10 students always working out together. This ensures more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.
Coaches are responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained between players as much as possible. This means additional spacing between players while playing catch, changing drills so that players remain spaced out, and no congregating of players while waiting to bat. At practice, parents must remain in their cars or drop off and pick up players after practice. At games, schools must limit the use of bleachers for fans. Schools should encourage fans to bring their own chairs or stand.
Players are encouraged to provide their own hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes. Players should use their own batting helmets, bats and catching equipment as much as possible.
Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each game. Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume during and after games. No shared drinking fountains, water stations, or coolers may be used.
The first date that games are allowed is Monday June 15th.