GHSA eases restrictions on locker rooms, showers, group size for conditioning

The Georgia High School Association relaxed its restrictions on showers, locker rooms and group size for summer practices after meeting with the sports medicine advisory committee on Wednesday.

In June, the GHSA limited group sizes for summer workouts to 20-25 and increased that number to 50 earlier this month. Now, group sizes for summer conditioning are unlimited if social distancing is in place ‘as much as possible,’ Hines said.

Teams will now be able to use locker rooms and showers, but for dressing only. In the locker rooms, social distancing must be practiced, even if groups must change and shower in stages. Mask and face coverings are highly recommended in the locker rooms, weight rooms and any indoor athletic facilities. The areas and workout equipment must be cleaned and sanitized following each student athlete who uses the area.

It is still recommended that all coaches and staff always wear masks at all times.

School districts around the state have different policies regarding the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some districts with positive cases force programs to shut down summer workouts for two weeks. Other districts responded by quarantining small groups while continuing their workouts.

While appearing on the ‘Georgia Prep Sports: From a Distance’ podcast with Score Atlanta President I.J. Rosenberg on Wednesday, GHSA Executive Director Robin Hines did not mince words on the various responses to positive tests.

‘‘These are local decisions, and they need to do what’s comfortable for them, but there are scenarios that would say maybe that’s too liberal of an application of the process to quarantine everybody because one has tested positive,‘’ Hines said.

Earlier this week, the GHSA pushed back the start of the football season two weeks, to Sept. 4 and now programs have one more week of voluntary workouts before the July 27 start of mandatory practices. Teams can begin using pads on Aug. 1 and can schedule scrimmages during the week of Aug. 21 as outlined in the GHSA Constitution and By Laws.

The GHSA said Wednesday that guidance regarding stadium seating, concessions, venues and spectators will be coming later from sport administrators and will be made at the local level between the Department of Health, local health professionals and school district policies.

According to the GHSA, the recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change and safety must be the top priority.

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