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Tue, Sept. 22

AIA releases guidelines for safe return of high school athletics

Arizona Interscholastic Association has released guidelines for schools to return to the field at their discretion amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Arizona Interscholastic Association has released guidelines for schools to return to the field at their discretion amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS — In a press conference May 28 Gov. Doug Ducey announced that all youth sports, including high schools, can resume play in Arizona immediately.

With that, the Arizona Interscholastic Association released guidelines for schools to return to the field at their discretion amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our priority through this is for the safety and well-being of all our state’s student-athletes and those that support them,” AIA Executive Director David Hines said in a statement. “We are not guaranteed to have a fall season. We are preparing to be ready on time, but it will all depend on how this situation develops as the summer goes on. We just ask that schools, coaches, players and parents consider and utilize the guidelines until we get back to normal.”

The guidelines outline a three-phased return to play.

Some of the highlights include:

Stay home when sick;

Discourage spitting;

Daily symptom reporting of coaches, athletes and staff, including temperature checks;

Athletes shall be dropped off by one parent or guardian or drive themselves to and from practice when possible;

Shower immediately upon arriving home, wash hands after placing clothes in a place to be washed that other people living in your house are not in contact with;

Avoid physical contact, such as no high fives or fist bumps, and no hugs;

Use of cloth face coverings is strongly recommended;

Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between all people present;

No water fountains;

Outdoor practice when possible;

Athletes shall have their own ball, additional equipment and protective gear; and

All gear shall be disinfected before and after training sessions.

“The recommendations are based on the phased reopening of the state outlined by Gov. Ducey, however, local public health authorities are ultimately in charge of their communities,” AIA spokesperson Seth Polansky said in a statement. “A recommendation by the AIA cannot supersede local ordinances. If a conflict was to occur, alternative activities may take place as long as they aren’t in violation of AIA regulations.”

Williams Unified School District Athletic Director Phillip Echeverria said he has created guidelines for approval from the WUSD Governing Board for the reopening of the sports programs at the WUSD schools.

“I’m just waiting for the board to go ahead and say it’s ok to start doing things,” he said. “We’ll probably have a decision on Tuesday about what we are going to do.”

Wendy Howell contributed to this story

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