MANDATA — The Line Mountain School District released its guidelines to reopen sports and extra-curricular activities for the 2020-21 school year during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The district released a 19-page document and a one-page waiver form on its website this week. The information was developed with guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) and the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) and will be discussed during the school board public meetings on July 14 and July 28.
“The No. 1 thing we’re trying to do is keep everybody safe and follow what we have to follow,” said Brad Skelton, the athletic director and dean of students.
Student athletes, coaches and staff are encouraged to stay home if they are sick, provide their own water bottles and face coverings when not practicing or competing, frequently wash their hands, and be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to any team function.
The district will provide hand sanitizer, individual non-reusable bottles of water, maintained the highest standards possible for cleaning, encourage social distancing and identify students and staff who may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
All facilities must be scheduled for use through the athletic department. Concession stands or other food must adhere to the Guidance for Businesses in the Restaurant Industry.
Non-mandatory practices started this week with football with other sports starting over the next few weeks. Practices will be staggered in the first two to four weeks with limited to no contact. Restrictions will be lifted as the weeks go on, Skelton said.
Aug. 10 is the first official day for football; Aug. 17 is the first official day for the rest of fall sports, including marching band, field hockey, soccer for girls and boys and the junior high girls basketball.
“The priority is to get the fall sports going,” said Skelton. “We’re going to do things slowly, ease our way into it before we rip and tear.”
The biggest challenge is the unknown, he said, about how guidelines will change as the weeks go and how other area’s status with the pandemic will affect the local area.
Spectators will be allowed, but restrictions and logistics are still being discussed, said Skelton.
“We don’t know exactly what it will look like,” he said.
Superintendent Dave Campbell said the district’s No. 1. priority should always be the safety of the students.
“It is imperative that we diligently follow our posted guidelines for reopening sports and extra-curricular activities,” said Campbell. “Therefore, at this time we are only allowing our enrolled students on campus for the next four to five weeks; after which, competing teams must produce evidence of following a similar reopening plan.”
The district’s guidelines can be viewed on its website at linemountain.com.