By News-Register staff • 

OSAA offers guidelines for Phase One of school athletic activities

Wednesday morning, the Executive Board met in a closed work session to discuss the latest updates on the Coronavirus pandemic as it relates to OSAA member schools. The discussion centered on the end of the Association Year and providing guidance to member schools regarding summer activities.

The OSAA Executive Board confirmed that the Association’s current moratorium-like suspension of facilities and coach/student physical interaction will remain in place through the end of the Association Year on May 25.

Beginning May 26, member schools control what they will allow to take place at their school facilities with athletic/activities programs, in accordance with directives from Governor Brown, the Oregon Heath Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE). ODE has clarified that the directive stating that school facilities are closed through June 30 should be interpreted to mean that school facilities are closed through the end of the school/contract year.

OSAA administrators have been working closely with the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) on recommendations for member schools regarding summer activities that are in alignment with OHA directives.

Three phases of athletic guidance were also released.

Foundational statements included:

-The OSAA believes it is essential to the physical and mental well-being of students to return to physical activity and athletic competition.

-The OSAA recognizes that all Oregon students may be unable to return to – and sustain – athletic activity at the same time across the state. There will also likely be variation in what sports and activities are allowed over the next 9 to 12 months.

-While recognizing that county-by-county reopening may lead to inequities, the OSAA advocates for returning students to school-based athletics and activities and allowing youth sports organizations to operate in any and all situations where it can be done safely.

-Prior to allowing use of facilities, schools and youth sports organizations should review facility use agreements, especially in the areas of sanitation requirements and liability.

The OSAA also highlighted several points of emphasis:

-Limited testing availability, lack of resources for contact tracing, and expanding knowledge of COVID-19 transmission could all result in significant changes to this guidance. The OSAA will disseminate more information as it becomes available.

-Administrators and coaches must emphasize the need for all coaches and participants who have signs or symptoms of illness to stay home when ill to decrease risk of viral transmission. “Vulnerable individuals” are defined by OHA as people age 60 years and older and others with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.

-Current pre-season conditioning and acclimatization models assume that athletes have deconditioned during the stay at home orders. The current pandemic may result in students being deconditioned for several months. The intensity and duration of training should be moderated upon return. The NFHS is currently involved with several organizations in developing consensus guidelines for the resumption of workouts and practices. These guidelines will be reviewed by the OSAA after they are finalized.

-Due to the near certainty of recurrent outbreaks in the coming months, schools and youth sports organizations must be prepared for periodic school closures and the possibility of some teams having to isolate for two or more weeks while in-season. Development of policies is recommended regarding practice and/or competition during temporary school closures, the cancellation of contests during the regular season, and parameters for the cancellation or premature ending to post-season events/competitions.

-Phases are in accordance with guidelines published by the State of Oregon and are subject to change. Please note that counties must meet “gating” criteria to establish Phase One and that further criteria must be met to advance from one phase to the next (21-day period currently). These criteria will be determined by the Governor’s Task Force and should be strictly followed.

Schools and coaches are reminded that, per OSAA policy, participation in summer sports/activities may not be required.

The OSAA Executive Board will continue to meet on a regular basis throughout the summer in closed work sessions.

For the complete list of Phase One guidelines, visit www.osaa.org/docs/osaainfo/OSAA_Media_Release_May_20.pdf

Comments

@@pager@@