Atlanta Public Schools Athletics Return to Play Recommendations
PHASE 1: Summer Conditioning* [Read FAQ here]
In accordance with the guidelines published by the Georgia High School Association, APS is limiting Phase I: Summer Conditioning to groups of 20 persons, including coaches, for all workouts per sport, across all times at each campus/facility. Only FALL High School GHSA sanctioned sports will be allowed to start this initial phase of conditioning. Middle school sports remain suspended pending further guidance from GHSA. Please note that all GHSA sanctioned sport workouts are voluntary, meaning the student-athlete chooses to participate in conditioning on his/her own accord.
DISCLAIMER: Please note, this is not a decision regarding the reopening of schools or the use of APS facilities by the community. Community access to APS schools, buildings, and facilities remains restricted until further notice. However, we are allowing Phase I of summer conditioning for the sports mentioned below so our students can participate in what GHSA has opened up for the summer. These recommendations should not be taken as a final decision regarding whether or not sports will be played in the Fall. As a determination from GHSA has not been made at this time regarding Fall sports, this guidance is subject to change.
Fall Sport Offerings
- Girls Flag Football
- Cross Country
- Cheerleading ( Both Sideline and Competition)
- Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Students or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance.
- No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.
- Weight equipment should be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student.
- Student-athletes are required to bring their masks from home for use in the weight room.
- Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and readily available.
- Each student should have his or her own personal water and water bottle. No use of water fountains or “water cows” is allowed. Schools will provide additional plastic water bottles for those athletes that are in need of additional fluids.
- Side spots only in weight training, safety bars are preferred.
- Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are required for the weight room.
- At least fifteen minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility.
- There is no competition allowed between schools of any sort. (ex. Padded Camps, 7 on 7)
- No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions. This includes parents, additional staff, or other stakeholders. Parents that drop their kids off must leave the campus and return to pick them up after workouts have been completed. Walkers, exercise groups, or outside groups are not allowed to be on campus at any time.
- No equipment is allowed during the Phase I conditioning Phase (Ex. Balls, Gloves, Bats, Nets, etc.)
Pre- Workout Screening Requirements:
- All coaches and students must be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout.
- Screening includes a temperature check.
Limitations on Gatherings:
- Locker rooms are restricted during Phase 1. Students should report to workouts in proper gear and immediately return home to shower at the end of the workout.
- Workouts must be conducted in “pods” of students with the same groups of students and trainers always working out together. Smaller pods can be utilized for weight training. This ensures a more limited risk of exposure.
- There must be a minimum distance of 6 feet between each individual at all times. If this is not possible indoors, then the maximum number of individuals in the room must be decreased until proper social distancing can occur.
- Adequate cleaning schedules must be created and implemented for all athletic facilities to mitigate any communicable diseases.
- Prior to an individual or groups of individuals entering a facility, hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized (chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, locker rooms, weight room equipment, bathrooms, athletic training room tables, etc.).
- Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts.
- Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and available to individuals as they transfer from place to place.
- Weight equipment must be wiped down thoroughly before and after an individual’s use of equipment.
- Appropriate clothing/shoes must be worn at all times in the weight room to minimize sweat from transmitting onto equipment/surfaces.
- Any equipment such as weight benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam must be covered.
- Students must be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning home.
Athletics Staff Personal Protective Equipment Requirements:
All athletic trainers and staff are required to utilize the following PPE and sanitation supplies during pre-conditioning sessions:
- Hand Sanitizer
- Athletics Trainers should wear proper PPE in the athletic training rooms.
- Face Shields (for pre-workout screenings only)
- No water fountains or water cows allowed.
- Athletes should bring their own water bottles or schools must provide single-use paper cups.
- No student trainers of managers will be allowed to attend-participate during the initial conditioning phase of return to play.
Sports Physicals via Wellstar Medical Center Onsite:
- All athletes will be screened for a fever and COVID symptoms prior to going through with their sports physical. Any athlete presenting with a fever or COVID symptoms will be sent home or referred to a healthcare provider for COVID testing.
- If possible, height, weight, BP, and vision will be completed outside to allow for more social distancing. The physician evaluation will be in a private space.
- All medical personnel involved with sports physicals will wear a mask, goggles/face shield, and/or gloves.
- Physicals will be limited to 5 athletes per hour to allow space for social distancing and time to clean tables/equipment between each athlete.
Protocol if coach or athlete tests positive for COVID-19:
- The athletic director of the local school will notify the district’s athletic director and Associate Superintendent of High Schools.
- Schools should refer to the district’s infectious disease plan for additional guidance.
Return to play protocol post COVID19 diagnosis:
- Student safety and well-being is vitally important. Those persons who are diagnosed with COVID-19 should present written information confirming clearance from and by a healthcare professional after testing positive and recovering.
- After this information is received by the school, student athletes may return to sports activities.
*Please note this is Phase I of the Return to Play Protocols for APS Athletic fall sports. Additional guidance will be issued as GHSA and CDC guidelines are updated and is subject to change.