AHSAA sets plan for summer workouts, but won’t allow summer competitions

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

After holding several meetings during the week of May 11, the Alabama High School Athletic Association set forth a plan for high schools in the state returning this summer for workouts to prepare for the 2020-21 athletic year.

While the AHSAA did cancel all summer competitions, including football preparation events such as 7-on-7 games and OTAs, they did announce that guidelines are being put in place for athletes to return for summer workouts and for the upcoming athletic year. They also said that junior camps would be allowed.

After meeting with State Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey, the AHSAA said the Alabama State Department of Education is hopeful schools will reopen campuses on June 8.

Therefore, the AHSAA contingency planning committee met with both Mackey and others throughout the week to try and figure out the best plan for summer workouts and conditioning.

They came to the following conclusions:

  • In accordance with AHSAA bylaws, mandatory summer practices are prohibited, but weightlifting, conditioning, individual skill development, and workouts are under the jurisdiction of local schools. However, schools must comply with all ALSDE and ADPH guidelines including, but not limited to, the number of students within non-interchangeable groups and the overall number of groups. Nonetheless, local schools may use a process to determine the student-athletes who make up the individual groups.
  • The AHSAA Medical Advisory Board, along with the ALSDE, is creating basic health guidelines for the schools to follow once campuses reopen. The minimum guidelines will focus on physical distancing, group activities based on square footage, respiratory coverings (face coverings), sanitizing equipment, hand washing, etc. The guidelines will be recommendations and left up to local schools to implement and regulate. Expected release date is after May 22.
  • Schools should prepare alternatives for conducting physicals for the upcoming school year. Mass physicals on same day at one location appear very unlikely. The Medical Advisory Board recommends students get a physical from their primary care provider prior to the first practice date.
  • The Central Board has canceled all summer competition. As always, schools may hold camps with their students and feeder school students.
  • Schools should prepare to provide accommodations for those students who are at risk or whose parents feel it is not yet safe to return to school.
  • The AHSAA will reconvene with all contingency planning committees and provide an update after the latest guidelines are released by the Governor and the ADPH on May 22, 2020.

It is expected that Mackey will make an announcement alongside Gov. Kay Ivey and Sate Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris on May 22 or before the end of May.