In 2020, the saying “play ball” was yelled only a few times before the COVID-19 pandemic brought everything to a halt. Now,Duncan’s district has chosen a phase in plan which will begin June 15.
The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) previously voted against a plan for three phases to bring sports back and instead returned to regular rules, set to begin this upcoming Monday.
Duncan Public Schools, with several other districts in Stephens County, was left to come up with its own plan and administration decided to take some of the guidelines from OSSAA into their plan.
Duncan Athletic Coordinator Bobby Cook provided the details of the DPS plan.
These plans are for 9th through 12th grade students at this time as middle school students will not be able to begin practice until at least after July 4.
According to a statement introducing the plan, this will go for their district until July 31, 2020, and adjustments could be made.
“The OSSAA in conjunction with state agencies, physicians and the CDC has determined it is safe as of June 1, 2020, to return to activities,” the statement said. “In order to ensure the safety of all, the following protocol will be in place for Duncan Public Schools. The situation surrounding COVID-19 is fluid and adjustments may be made as needed.”
No camps, clinics or leagues with non Duncan Public Schools students will be allowed, according to the plan, and each person in each activity must complete a COVID-19 screening form.
Only high school students will be allowed to participate at this time though the information is subject to change pending notification from the DPS Athletic Department.
Weight rooms will reopen and each person entering must have their temperature checked. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above will not be allowed to stay for the day.
Hand washing must be completed and the use of hand sanitizer is needed before entering and touching any of the equipment.
Locker rooms and/or restrooms, if opened, must be sanitized before use and at the conclusion of the workout. There is also a two person maximum on any one piece of equipment.
The guide states that social distancing of at least six feet will be followed and the total number allowed in the room must comply with these social distancing requirements.
There is one exception as a spotter should be allowed to ensure proper safety in using the weight room equipment. Any equipment must be disinfected appropriately with use.
No shared water bottles, towels, gloves or any other personal equipment is permitted.
The same goes for any of the gyms and the indoor facility. There is no scrimmaging or one-on-one to be played at this time.
Outdoor activities will have rules regarding usage with required temperature checks and hand washing along with the usage of locker rooms and/or restrooms.
For the sports of baseball and softball, batting practice will be allowed but can only be done by using live pitch with no catcher or from a tee.
They must follow social distancing guidelines and no shared helmets or equipment can be worn on the head including face masks.
Activity specific instruction may begin. Allowing strength and conditioning is permitted and no activity specific practice may be held for longer than 90 minutes.
Football practice can be conducted but only in the form of non-contact, which only include helmets.
No drills can be done that cause direct contact with another person and training devices such as air and stand-up dummies, tackling wheels, or blocking shields, which are non-attached, as well as, tires, ropes boards and any other equipment not requiring body contact may be used.
Tryouts will be permitted and coaches will keep track each day of each person participating in their respective sport.
Vulnerable coaches will wear a mask and locker room usage will be for bathroom purposes only.
The record kept by coaches of temperature and date and time of each student athlete each activity day will stay with the coaches. All chairs will be put away.
Competition with other schools is not currently possible due to current transportation guides, though physicals will be allowed until July 1 and free physicals will be offered until June 24.
Amanda Woods will conduct a coaches education presentation prior to June 15 and will also conduct a student education presentation with the time and date to be determined.
Cook said all of this information is subject to reevaluation or modifications due to the fluidity of the situation.
Different sports have announced plans including football, which will work out Monday through Thursday with seniors and sophomores going from 8-9:30 a.m. and the juniors and freshman going from 9:30-11 a.m.
There will be a dead week, as per the OSSAA, June 27 and lasting until July 5. None of the facilities will be open, according to rules of the district and the OSSAA.
Athletes are encouraged to talk with their coaches for specific plans and any questions can be directed to Cook via e-mail.