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MHSAA releases guidelines to return to sports

MHSAA building in East Lansing.
MHSAA building in East Lansing.(WILX)
Published: May. 29, 2020 at 1:33 PM EDT
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The Michigan High School Athletic Association submitted to its member schools a series of updated timelines and recommendations to guide the return to sports today.

Due to the state's current "Safer At Home" order, use of any school facilities is prohibited and there can be no on-site athletic activity, including practice or competition, until the current stay-at-home order expires or is lifted by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. When the “Safer-at-Home” order expires or is lifted, the return-to-activity recommendations may be implemented locally by school district leadership, provided the district declares its facilities open to students and staff and the 2019-20 school year has ended for that district.

The MHSAA/NFHS plan recommends a three-step process to returning to full athletic participation, and for each step outlines actions to be taken in five major areas: pre-workout/contest screening of athletes and coaches for sickness, limitations of the number of participants who may be involved in a gathering, proper cleaning for facilities, the use of equipment during activity and best practices for keeping participants safely hydrated. The plan also places sports into categories based on risk for transmitting the virus (low/moderate/high), with adjusted return-to-activity steps based on that level of risk.

“The MHSAA and its Representative Council believe restarting school sports is essential to the physical and mental well-being of students, and the guidelines outlined for schools today provide the ‘How’ for schools to return to athletics when they’ve received the go-ahead from state and county health officials,” MHSAA Executive Director Mark Uyl said. “We are thankful for our state government, state education and health departments, our medical partners and the NFHS for their guidance these last few months, and we will continue to follow and pass on their recommendations as we prepare our schools to bring back this part of student life that’s been sorely missed.”

The return-to-activity guidelines are aimed to provide direction for schools as they continue to limit potential exposure to respiratory droplets, the primary avenue for transferring COVID-19. Specifically, the MHSAA/NFHS plan addresses social distancing, use of cloth and other face coverings, event scheduling and transportation, and the possibility that schools may have to break from or completely discontinue activity including competition during the fall or winter because of recurrent outbreaks of the coronavirus.

School district administrators will determine at which step in the MHSAA/NFHS plan their schools are operating based on the number of people allowed to gather by state medical officials.

Those who wish to read the full guideline can do so

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