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AISA releases "best practice" guidelines for fall sports

AISA releases "best practice" guidelines for fall sports

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The Alabama Independent Schools Association released its “best practice” guidelines Thursday for the upcoming football season, including the elimination of pre-game spirit lines and post-game handshakes.

Three Dothan Eagle coverage teams compete in the AISA – Pike Liberal Arts of Troy, Abbeville Christian in Abbeville and Lakeside School of Eufaula.

The association, in its release, stressed only essential personnel will be permitted on the field before, during and after any contest. This includes, but not limited to, spirit lines and postgame gatherings on the field and to individuals not necessary for competition on the sidelines.

The mandate also includes the traditional postgame handshakes between the teams, which will also not be permitted, though teams could agree prior to the game to walk down a line more than six feet apart to share congratulations. Only team members and coaches should participate in this activity, if it is done, said the AISA.

The AISA also encouraged coaches to hold its post-game talks with the players in the locker room or some other designated area absent non-essential personnel.

In another guideline, the AISA said teams forfeiting games due to COVID-19 related issues on their team will not be subjected to fines and will not be automatically eliminated from playoff contention if their circumstance is approved by the AISA Athletic Committee review.

The forfeit will count as a loss for the forfeiting team and a win for the opponent and teams forfeiting for COVID-19 related issues will need to provide a detailed summary for athletic committee review, said the AISA release.

The AISA also said its Athletic Committee would determine an automatic forfeiture policy soon for teams experiencing outbreaks. The policy will likely be a percentage positive policy.

In addition, the AISA said individuals with a COVID-19 positive test must quarantine and that student-athletes, coaches or officials testing positive with mild symptoms should quarantine for a minimum of 10 days from the onset of symptoms, while those with a more severe case should quarantine for at least 14 days. Every participant should have a signed release from a doctor before resuming activities, said the AISA.

All student-athletes, according to the AISA, should be screened prior to any contest, ideally before the team leaves the campus (for road games) or right after school (home games), and that if any student exhibits symptoms or is presumed to be positive with COVID-19, the student should be quarantined and not participate in any contest until cleared by a medical professional.

The association also stressed daily screenings should be done by coaches before practice, regardless of protocols and policies for on-campus learning established by the schools. Screening may include, but not limited to, temperature checks and observations for signs or symptoms.

The AISA said if kids are screened at home, upon arrival to school and prior to practice, the kids would have three layers of screening in one day.

In football, cloth face coverings are permissible as are face masks that are clear, free of tint and integrated into the face mask. Charged timeouts will be extended to two minutes as will time between periods as well as after a successful field goal or safety. Halftime will now be 20 minutes in length until further notice, said the AISA.

In volleyball, the coin toss to determine serve/receive will be suspended. The visiting team will serve first in the first set and alternate first serve will be held for the remainder of the non-deciding sets. The deciding set (fifth set) coin toss will take place at center court with the home team calling the toss.

In cross country, the course should be no less than six feet at its narrowest point. Electronic timing should be used to prevent congestion at the finish area and to allow for staggered starts to prevent congestion at the starting point. Spectators should maintain a safe distance of six feet from the course at all times and not congregate around the finish area or awards area.

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