Announcements and Important Events
ATHLETIC HEALTH AND SAFETY PLAN
Schuylkill Valley School District
Covid-19 is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes Covid-19 is a new coronavirus that has spread throughout the world. Virus symptoms can range from mild (or no symptoms) to severe illness or in some cases death.
An individual can become infected by coming into close contact (less than 6 feet or two arm lengths) with a person who has Covid-19 as the virus is primarily spread from person to person. Infections occur from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Infection may also occur by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
While it is not possible to eliminate all risk of spreading Covid-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) advises there are many steps schools can take to reduce the risks to students, coaches, and their families. The Schuylkill Valley School District will take precautions to help to ensure the safety of students and staff while following the recommendations of federal, state and local governments as well as the CDC, NFHS and PIAA. No amount of safety precautions, however, can guarantee a student will not become infected. As more information becomes available about COVID-19, this plan may be modified and updated.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) season will set the start of the season for each individual sport. The District or the Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association may adjust the starting date to a later start than the PIAA.
High Risk Groups
People with a higher risk of Covid-19 should not participate in athletic activities or attend any athletic contests. Some of the higher risk categories are:
- People at a higher risk for severe illness
- People who are immuno-compromised
- Older adults
- Individuals with moderate or severe Asthma
- Individuals with HIV
- Individuals with Liver or Kidney Disease
- Individuals who are Pregnant or Breast-Feeding
If there is a concern about the risk associated with participation due to underlying health conditions, the individual should consult their health care provider prior to returning to sports.
Point of Contact
The primary point of contact for this plan is the Athletic Director. Secondary contacts are the Athletic Trainers.
Any student-athlete or coach attending a practice or competition should be a good physical condition. Anyone feeling sick or experiencing any unusual symptoms associated with Covid-19 must stay home to protect themselves and others.
If a student-athlete starts to feel sick at a practice or competition, the individual should immediately inform one of the coaches who should isolate the individual. The parent/guardian should be alerted immediately and the student-athlete should be sent home.
All coaches directly interacting with student-athletes will wear mask at all times. Any exceptions to this – for medical reasons – must be approved by the Athletic Director.
It is recommended that student-athletes wear a mask any time the individual is not actively engaged in practice or competition. If a student-athlete is not in a drill or game, the individual must have a face mask on. During team talks/meetings, masks will be required. Face masks which are worn at PIAA competitions may not have any advertising or corporate names on them.
Student-athletes should keep their mouth guards in their mouth at all times throughout practice and competitions. If the mouth guard is taken out, proper disinfection of the mouth guard should be performed prior to reinsertion. Hands should also be washed or disinfected before doing so.
When a coach or student-athlete arrives for a work-out, he/she will be required to wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. Following that, the individual will report to either a coach or athletic personnel who will screen each individual and take their temperature (see Appendix I). During this screening process, coaches, athletic personnel and student-athletes must be wearing a mask. Documentation will be done via a paper form or the use of online documentation. Coaches will keep this documentation and will send it to the athletic trainers to have a backup copy in the medical files.
If there is a finding of Covid-19 or a concern with a “Yes” answer to the screening questions, the student-athlete or coach should be isolated and sent home.
As part of this process, the individual conducting the screening may utilize a non-contact thermometer to take the temperature of each student-athlete. If someone registers a temperature of 100.4 or higher, he/she will be isolated for 5 minutes and the temperature will be taken again. Following another 5-minute isolation period, the student-athlete will have a 3rd temperature reading. If the average temperature of the 3 readings is 100.4 or higher, the parent/guardian must be contacted to pick up the student-athlete. Parents will be asked to have the student-athlete examined by a medical professional and to provide follow-up documentation that the student is free from the Covid-19 virus.
Education and Waiver
Prior to participation in the fall season, parents will be required to sign a waiver form indicating that they and their child understand the risks of Covid-19 associated with participation. This form must be turned in before a student-athlete can begin participation. Included in the form will be information about COVID-19 and safety precautions that can be taken. This will be similar to the education and sign-off forms for concussion and sudden cardiac arrest.
Game workers and officials will also be required to sign an online waiver form.
Coaches will encourage any student-athlete who feels sick to remain home.
Signs will be posted in bathrooms, locker rooms and near training facilities emphasizing social distancing and proper hygiene.
Coaches and student-athletes must stay 6’ apart as much as possible. Workout and training activities must be organized to allow for this required spacing. This includes student-athletes actively engaged in drills, as well as student-athletes waiting for participation.
Coaches will make every effort to group student-athletes in small pods as appropriate.
Student-athletes should not enter or leave the practice facility together or within 6’ of each other. Parents picking up student-athletes should remain in their vehicles.
Student-athlete and coach bags, apparel, etc. should be separated 6’ apart. All personal supplies should be labeled with the owner’s name on it to prevent someone from picking up the wrong bag.
Number of Participants
Each activity area will be limited to 250 participants for outdoor events or 25 participants for indoor event (or such other number as the Commonwealth, PIAA or CDC may determine) which includes coaches, student-athletes and athletic staff (officials, game workers, athletic trainers, etc.). Parents, community members and spectators will not be permitted to attend any practices or competitions unless state regulations change.
Prior to each practice and game, all equipment will be sanitized. Student-athletes should not share equipment with one another unless inherent to the sport. This includes athletic equipment, pinnies, towels, clothing, etc. Whenever possible, any time equipment is used by one individual, it will be sanitized prior to the next person using that piece of equipment.
Student-athletes and coaches will be encouraged to wash their hands and use hand sanitizer frequently during practices and games.
A maximum of 2 individuals may be in the bathrooms at any given time. These spaces will be cleaned on a regular basis. Doors to enter these areas will be propped open when possible to allow for air flow.
The number of individuals allowed in the Weight Room will be limited and determined by the activities being performed. The coach or weight training supervisor will make this determination and enforce any and all limits. Weight equipment will be moved outdoors when possible. Strength training will be done using alternative means such as dumbbells, kettlebells, bands, etc. which can be allocated to one student-athlete at a time. No more than one person may be at a piece of weight room equipment at a time and individuals must remain a minimum of 6’ apart.
The weight room will be accessed through the exterior cafeteria door. Exit from the weight room will be through the exterior weight room door.
If student-athletes choose to wear weight-lifting gloves, these should be washed after each use.
All student-athletes must provide their own water bottles and hydration which should be labeled with the individuals’ name. The District is not able to provide water or the use of coolers during this time. In addition, water fountains will not be available. Water bottles shall not be shared.
There will be no chewing gum, spitting, licking fingers or eating sunflower seeds. Student-athletes will not be permitted to shake hands, high five one another, chest bump, hug or fist bump during workouts.
At the conclusion of a practice and/or game, student-athletes must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. Student-athletes will be encouraged to shower as soon as they get home from an athletic event. In addition, student-athletes should be encouraged to wash all garments and equipment after each workout.
All facilities utilized will be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. The Director of Buildings and Grounds will establish a schedule for cleaning.
Travel to Away Competitions
Bus or van transportation will be provided to away events. Face coverings will be mandatory for all trips and any and all regulations established by the busing contractor and/or school district will be strictly followed and enforced.
Family-style team meals will not be permitted. If there are team functions that require meals, these should be individually packaged and participants must stay 6’ apart when eating and/or utilize seating barriers consistent with those in the cafeteria.
All home competitions will follow the parameter of this plan. Individual sports will have specific guidelines based on the facility being used and the unique requirements of each sport.
Contest sites will have sanitation supplies available for players, coaches, officials and games workers.
All Competition Considerations
The pre-game conference in all sports will be limited to one official, the head coach from each team and one captain from each team. These individuals should be a minimum of 6’ apart and/or be wearing masks. This includes the coin toss as well. These conferences will be moved to the center of the court/field and away from other coaches or players warming up.
Coaches and players on the bench should be wearing masks and sitting 6’ or more apart. Benches will be marked for seating.
The scoring table will be limited to the home team scorer and/or timer. If space is available, the visiting team scorer will be permitted at the table. All seating will be 6’ or more apart.
During the pre-game introductions there will be no hand shaking. In addition, all players and coaches must be 6’ apart during introductions. There will be no post-game hand shake line between teams and officials.
The number of individuals allowed in each locker room will be limited. Individuals using the locker room will be supervised by coaches and must be wearing masks. Limits for the locker room are as follows:
Boys Locker Room – 17 individual changing areas Boys Team Room – 5 individual changing areas
Girls Locker Room – 19 individual changing areas Girls Team Room – 8 individual changing areas
The only fall sport team permitted to utilize the locker room when classes are held virtually will be the football team due to their equipment needs. In the event that more space is needed, the auxiliary cafeteria or other areas of the building will be converted into locker rooms/changing rooms.
Athletic Training Room
The number of individuals allowed in the Athletic Training Room will be limited and determined by the activities being performed. The athletic trainers will make this determination and enforce any and all limits. Depending on the time of day or season, individuals wishing to see the athletic trainers may be required to schedule an appointment online. Masks must be worn in the athletic training room.
Competition Spectator Information
Currently the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not allow visitors or spectators for practices or games. Should that directive change, we will follow any and all guidance from the state. Spectators may not park their vehicles on or around school district fields and are not permitted to stand outside the facilities.
If/When spectators are permitted to attend games, seating areas will be clearly marked and will adhere to social distancing guidelines. Spectator size may be limited depending on the facility being used and reservations may be required.
All spectators will be required to wear masks at all times and will not be allowed to enter the playing surface or bench area.
Schuylkill Valley has installed 2 live-stream cameras on campus – 1 for the high school stadium and 1 for the high school gym. All games will be covered via the NFHS live-stream format. Viewers may sign up for a monthly subscription at $10.99 per month or a yearly subscription at $69.99 (or the prices set by the NFHS). This entitles the viewer to watch any game being live-streamed throughout the nation on the NFHS platform.
Consideration for Coaches
All facilities utilized will be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis. The Director of Buildings and Grounds will be responsible for determining the cleaning and sanitizing schedule.
- Communicate your guidelines in a clear manner to students and parents.
- Consider conducting workouts in “pods” of same students always training and rotating together in practice to ensure more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.
- Keep accurate records of those athletes and staff who attend each practice in case contact tracing is needed.
- Coaches may have to limit game day squad sizes for social distancing purposes.
- Coaches are reminded to wear proper coaching attire per weather conditions.
- Coaches should bring their own water bottle(s) and follow established guidelines for hydration.
- Coaches should emphasize the importance of hydration and hygiene with their student-athletes.
Consideration for Parents/Guardians
(A family’s role in maintaining safety guidelines for themselves and others):
- Parents/Guardians should monitor their children of any symptoms prior to any sporting activities. Children who are sick or showing symptoms must stay home. (If there is any doubt, stay home).
- Parents/Guardians and coaches should assess levels of risk based on individual athletes on the team who may be at a higher risk for severe illness.
- Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.
- Disinfect your student’s personal equipment after each game or practice.
- Be prepared with face coverings for members of your family if permitted to attend events.
- Inform coaches if your student-athlete has been exposed to someone who is known to have COVID-19.
Considerations for Media
- Media members should complete a personal health assessment daily. Any media member who attends a game in person will be subject to school district Covid-19 screenings including having his/her temperature taken.
- The media must make contact with the school prior to attending to make appropriate arrangements for attendance.
- Media availability may be limited especially if there are limits on capacity. Use of the press box is contingent on the requirements by the teams and coaches.
- Media should be restricted to areas outside of the team areas.
- Interview requests may be limited and only permissible if social distancing is possible.
- Media are required to wear masks at all times. Any exception to that must be approved by the Athletic Director, Principal or Superintendent.
- No media will be permitted inside the locker room or school building without prior approval from the Athletic Director.
Consideration for Game Workers and Officials
- Game workers and officials should complete a personal health assessment daily. Individuals working a game will be subject to school district Covid-19 screenings including having his/her temperature taken. Any official or game worker that feels sick should stay home.
- Officials will not have access to the locker room unless arrangements have been made at least 1 day in advance.
- Maintain 6’ of social distancing from players, game workers and other officials as much as possible.
- Officials and game workers are encouraged to wear a mask at all times. If an official is addressing a player or a coach less than 6’ apart, a mask should be worn. This includes between periods/halves and before and after play.
- Officials should provide their own towels and hydration bottles. These should be labeled with each individuals’ name on them and should not be shared with anyone
Student-Athlete or Coach Who Contract COVID-19
If a student-athlete or coach comes down with COVID-19, the individual must quarantine for a minimum of 14 days and/or follow CDC or their doctor’s orders. In addition, the team will also quarantine and the season will be suspended for a minimum of 14 days (following medical guidelines). Any school that had a recent competition with the Covid-19 positive individual will be contacted.
If a team is shut down due to Covid-19, any game that is missed can be rescheduled if possible. However, if a contest cannot be rescheduled it will be recorded as a “no contest” and not a forfeit. The only time a team would forfeit a contest due to a Covid-19 situation would be in the case of post-season tournaments.
Classification of Sports
High Risk - Sports that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.
EX – Football, Wrestling, Cheerleading (stunting)
Moderate Risk - Sports that involve close, sustained contact, but with protective equipment in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants OR intermittent close contact OR group sports that use equipment that can’t be cleaned between participants.
EX – Basketball, Volleyball, Baseball, Softball, Soccer, Tennis, Track Jumping Events
Low Risk - Sports that can be conducted with social distancing or individually with no sharing of equipment or the ability to clean the equipment between use by competitors
EX – Cross-Country, Track Running and Throwing Events, Swimming, Golf, Sideline Cheerleading
Cheerleading – High Risk (stunting), Low Risk (sideline)
When stunting, student-athletes must wear masks. Face shields are not permitted for stunting.
During games, cheerleaders should stand 6’ from each other. They must wear masks if they are less than 6’ apart.
Poms will be assigned to each individual and labeled in some way. Cheerleaders should not touch anyone else’s poms.
Water bottles should be placed off the track surface and must be separated by 6’ of space.
There will be no use of a crash banner at the start of games.
Cross-Country – Low Risk
During home meets, schools will be limited to 12 runners per team. The starting line will be extended to allow for greater distance between runners and there will be a minimum of 6’ through all parts of the race course.
Finish line – Disposable sticks will be utilized for all finishes. Consideration will be given to utilize the FAT timing system. There will be no snack table at the finish line. Student-athletes should bring their own food and hydration.
No pre-game or post-game handshakes will be permitted. No team tents allowed on campus.
Game Workers permitted – PIAA Starter, Timer (2), Scorers (2)
Field Hockey – Moderate Risk
Additional game balls will be placed throughout the field. If ball holders are being used, they will not be permitted to use their hands. They may either put a ball into play using their feet or using a field hockey stick.
Substitutions – Substitutes entering the game will check in with the scoring table from a 6’ distance. They will then go to the sideline. When there are multiple subs, they will spread out on the sidelines. Subs will not slap hands with the player she is replacing.
During pre-game meetings, pre-game introductions, quarter breaks, halftime and post-game, players should be wearing masks.
Green/Yellow Card – 2 chairs will be spread out to accommodate players that may have a sit-out period.
Penalty Corners – Players may wear a penalty corner mask but each player must use their own individually-labeled mask.
Game Workers permitted – PIAA officials, Home Scorer, Home Timer
Football – High Risk
A maximum of 250 total individuals will be permitted at games according to the following break-down:
- Sports Medicine Staff – 5 per side (10 total)
- Team Managers – 3 per side (6 total)
- Players – 50 (100 total)
- Coaches – 10 on field, 2 press box (24 total)
- Cheerleaders – 25 (home team only)
- Marching Band – 30 (home team only)
- Videographers – 2 per team (4 total)
- Chain Crew – 4
- Officials – 6
- Press Box Game Workers (4 total)
- Media (4 maximum)
- Security – 12
This leaves approximately 20 “spaces” available.
The team box will be extended to the 10-yard line for players to allow for greater social distancing. Players should stay more than 6’ from each other on the sideline. Coaches are only permitted between the 25-yard lines (normal coaching box). Players and coaches should stay 5’ away from the sideline (previously this was 2’)
There should be a minimum of 2 ball holders per team with 3 balls rotated throughout. Balls should be regularly sanitized during the game and ball holders must stand 6’ from each other. These individuals should be wearing gloves.
Coaches should wear masks at all times. Managers, ball holders and individuals on the chain crew must also wear masks.
Players will have face shields installed on their helmets and must keep these on at all times. When not wearing a helmet, players should have masks on unless having a water break where they should be 6’ apart.
Players must keep mouth guards in their mouths at all times. If a mouth guard is taken out, it must be sanitized before it is used again. Mouthwash or a similar product will be provided for this purpose. Before doing this the player should utilize hand sanitizer or disinfect his hands.
Timeouts and intermissions between quarters and following a try, successful field goal or safety (prior to the succeeding free kick) will be extended to 2 minutes. Players will be required to pick up their own water bottles during this time. They should not touch any other players’ water bottle. If players come to the sideline for their water, individuals not in the game should move out of the way to allow for more distance between players.
Players should not pick up officiating flags and should not share uniforms, towels, apparel or equipment.
Coaches should minimize the use of offensive and defensive huddles but should use alternate methods of communication (signals, cards, signs) to minimize grouping.
6’ of social distancing should be utilized for all pre-game responsibilities including officials, game administration staff, chain crew, clock operators, team personnel and ball holders. All individuals should wash and sanitize their hands as often as possible.
On-Field Game Workers – Officials, Team Medical Personnel, Managers, Ball Holders, Chain Crew (3)
Off-Field Game Workers – Cheerleaders, Marching Band
Press Box – There is a maximum of 2 coaches in each side box. The middle box is limited to the timer, announcer (if applicable), spotter and media (max of 2).
Golf – Low Risk
Competitions must strictly adhere to any Covid-19 modifications made to individual golf courses or golf practice facilities (driving ranges).
Normal golf groups are permitted but there should always be 6’ of space between competitors.
If there is a need to access the golf shop, bathrooms or snack stand, competitors must have their masks on. This is a state requirement for indoor facilities.
A maximum of 9 players may compete in a match. The top 6 players are varsity players and 7-9 are considered JV players. The top 4 scores of the varsity players will count toward the match team score.
Players should provide their own tees, pencils, ball markers and any other equipment. If appropriate, equipment should be marked with the golfers’ name. Players should not touch any other player’s equipment, ball, scorecard, etc.
There should be no exchange of scorecards by players. Each player will keep his/her own scorecard but there must be a verbal accounting of scores for each hole. Players may keep an unofficial score of their competitors. Electronic scoring is permitted for regular season competitions.
At the end of the match, players are permitted to depart with a parent/guardian and a permission note.
Soccer – Moderate Risk
Additional game balls will be placed throughout the field. Ball runners will not be permitted to use their hands. They should put a ball into play using their feet.
Substitutions – Substitutes will spread out on the sidelines close to the center line while maintaining 6’ of separation. Subs will not slap hands with the player being replaced and/or may not exchange a pinnie or any other item to signal the substitution.
During pre-game meetings, pre-game introductions, halftime and post-game, players must be wearing masks. There will be no “world cup” introduction. Players will be introduced while maintaining a 6’ distance between them.
Goalkeepers should keep a water bottle behind the net if needed for wetting their gloves. They are not permitted to spit on their gloves.
Game Workers permitted – PIAA officials, Home Scorer, Home Timer
Tennis – Moderate Risk
There will be no pre-match introductions of competitors or hand-shaking. 1 head coach from each team and 1 player may participate in a pre-game meeting.
For home matches, one competitor will use pink tennis balls and the opponent will use a green ball and both should make note of their ball number. Competitors may only serve with their assigned color ball. To advance balls to the opposing side, players should use a racquet or their foot. Players should not touch the balls with their hands and should avoid touching their face. Players may bring a sharpie marker to label their balls.
When picking up a large number of balls during practice, ball hoppers or racquets should be used.
When changing ends of the court, players should walk to the right to maintain social distancing.
During doubles, players should maintain 6’ of distance as much as possible.
Players should utilize hand sanitizer regularly and avoid touching common surfaces such as the court gates, fences, benches, etc. Players should only touch their individual scorecard. These should be sanitized if being re-used for doubles after the singles matches are complete.
Tennis racquets and other equipment should be wiped down regularly. Players should not touch any other competitor’s racquet, water bottle, towel, etc. All personal items should be labeled with the owner’s name.
Volleyball – Moderate Risk
Team size will be limited so that no more than 25 individuals are practicing in the gym at one time.
For games, rosters should not be submitted at the pre-game conference. Rosters should be submitted directly to the scoring table before the 10-minute mark. Between each set, coaches should fill out their line-ups in the team bench area instead of at the scoring table.
All gymnasium doors will be propped open to increase air flow.
During player introductions, pre-game and between sets, players should have face coverings on.
During home games, we will be limited to 25 individuals in the gym as follows:
2 coaches per team (4 total)
2 PIAA officials
2 line judges
2 game workers (home timer and scorer)
1 athletic trainer
7 players per team (14 total)
For home high school games, all substitutes will be staged in the main cafeteria or auxiliary gym. Players in these areas are permitted to participate in the game. One player from the gym would have to switch places with one player in the cafeteria/auxiliary gym. There will be a live-stream feed of the match in the staging area.
- Should Pennsylvania recommendations change from a limit of 25 individuals for indoor events, these numbers and the structure may change as may be appropriate.
Teams will not switch sides of the court or benches. The home team will designate a side and will remain on that side for the duration of the match. The team bench area will be expanded to allow more room between chairs. Players on the bench and coaches must wear masks.
Substitutions may occur at the attack line so that the substitute is socially distant from the second referee. Subs will not slap hands with the player being replaced and/or may not exchange a pinnie or any other item to signal the substitution.
A minimum of 3 game balls will be used. Balls should be routinely sanitized.
Game Workers permitted – PIAA officials, Home Scorer, Home Timer, Libero Tracker (if needed)
Adopted August 24, 2020
Protect Yourself, Protect Others, Protect the Season
Adopted June 24, 2020