The GHSA's Sports Medicine Advisory Council has announced recommendations and restrictions Wednesday as fall sports transition from non-mandatory summer workouts into official practices next week.
The guidance release comes two days after the governing body's Board of Trustees confirmed the acclimation period for football and the first day of practices for other fall sports would move forward as originally planned.
Football's acclimation period starts next Monday and will essentially be a continuation of this week's workouts, which were the first since the COVID-19 outbreak to allow players to wear helmets. Meanwhile, official practices for competition cheer, cross country, softball and volleyball can begin Aug. 1.
Those dates were already known, but how exactly teams would proceed when they came remained to be seen until Wednesday's announcement.
As expected, several elements present in summer workouts will continue into practices. Weightlifting and sport-specific equipment will need to be sanitized. Social distancing is still being requested "as much as possible." Also, it's recommended for schools to continue screening prior to workouts with the expectation that any players or coaches "screened out" or those who actually test positive for the coronavirus are reported to the GHSA.
There were some updates, though, to the summer guidance.
The limit on group size has been removed after remaining at 50 combined players and coaches for the past several weeks. However, the release encourages "limiting groups as much as feasibly possible." Locker rooms are also able to be used after being off limits all summer, although students are discouraged from congregating in the space.
Per the announcement, it's "highly recommended" that mask or face coverings be used by athletes when indoors (locker rooms, weight rooms, etc.) and by coaches at all times.
A ban on scrimmages has also been lifted, allowing for fall sports programs to conduct exhibitions against other schools in the lead up to the start of their regular-season schedules.
While the GHSA is still sending out these rules and regulations, the governing body reiterated that local school systems remain able to tailor some things to their particular situation. That is so long as their protocols are more — not less — restrictive than the GHSA.