The N.C. High School Athletic Association announced it has changed some of its sports guidelines, including the number of fans that will be allowed at indoor and outdoor events, on Thursday.
The NCHSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) worked on the guidelines that were presented on Thursday that also affect the three sports that start in November, cross country, swimming and diving and volleyball, and other workout guidelines for football and lacrosse.
Following the guidelines set in Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order on Oct. 1, any indoor athletic event can allow 25 spectators, not including the players, coaches and officials, into volleyball and swim meets. For outdoor venues, schools have the option of 100 spectators or 30 percent of the facility’s stated fire capacity, whichever is fewer. If there is no stated fire capacity, seven individuals per 1,000 square feet can be used to calculate that capacity.
Guidelines for schools to handle a positive COVID-19 athlete also were laid out by the NCHSAA.
If a player or coach tests positive for COVID-19, they should quarantine for 14 days as well as any members of that team who had been within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes of that person, those who had direct person-to-person contact or were coughed or sneezed on by the positive individual should also quarantine and monitor for symptoms.
To return to workouts, a person who tests positive must go at least 10 days since receiving a positive test or diagnosis by a licensed healthcare provider, not exhibit a fever that exceeds 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit for 24 hours after recovering and have a Return to Play form from a licensed healthcare provider.
For the sports that will begin next month, specific guidelines that were set up by the National Federation of State High School Associations were listed in the modified sports schedule.
Volleyball coaches will meet at the net with the officials and space out six feet apart for a coin flip to decide serve. Teams will not switch benches during the match. Visiting teams must bring their own balls to warm up with, and may bring other game balls to assist with the rotation of disinfected balls.
For cross country, the maximum of four teams competing must space out at the start and finish line. Meet officials can choose between three different start options. Option one allows all four teams to start the race at the same time, while keeping the teams separated in alleys for teams to remain in for the first 100 yards. Option two is wave start by team position, where the No. 1 runners of each team would start, followed by the No. 2 runners and so forth. The third option is wave start by team.
Any athlete not actively participating in an event for any sport must also wear a face covering. Physical celebrations among teammates and postgame with opponents will not be allowed.
In skill development workouts for football and lacrosse, players are now permitted to wear protective equipment. While lacrosse players can wear helmets, goggles, gloves, chest protectors and a mouth guard, football teams that have completed at least two weeks of workouts can wear helmets only. With wearing protective equipment, a certified athletic trainer or first responder must be on hand at those workouts.