It was a long time coming but on Thursday, Porterville Unified School District announced that voluntary summer workouts for high school athletics can begin next week on July 1.
However before players can start practicing, they and their parents must sign a COVID-19 Parent Waiver and Release Form. The forms are provided by the schools.
Following the recently released Return to Physical Activity/Training Guidelines from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), PUSD also released a COVID-19 Action Plan that details how teams can be safe while beginning their transitions back to sports.
One of the key things in the plan is that players and coaches will have to do a pre-workout screening that includes questions and a temperature check. Anyone with positive symptoms or a temperature 100.3 °F or higher must be sent home and can return only with a written medical clearance.
Players will not be able to use the locker room and it is recommended they show up to practices in their workout clothes and shower immediately when they return home. Players should also bring their own water bottles -- there is no sharing of water bottles or food -- and hydration stations are only to be used to refill personal water bottles.
All workouts are to be conducted in small groups of 5-10 athletes that will stay together for the entire week to limit overall exposure. Smaller groups can be used in the weight room but no equipment should be used that requires a spotter.
No equipment is to be shared and any equipment used should be cleaned after each individual is finished with it.
Everyone is to follow health and PUSD guidelines and maintain six feet of distance at all times. Inside the weight room everyone must also use a cloth face covering at all times.
Some sports -- cross country, track and field, swimming, golf and tennis -- have two phases and can move from individual skill development and workouts to modified team workouts, county health guidelines permitting.
Cross country runners and golfers are to keep six feet of distance with cross country avoiding groupings for both phases. Track and field athletes are to keep their distance and clean all equipment they use. Swimmers cannot share lanes. Tennis players should use their own can of balls to serve, pass balls with their rackets and only play singles.
For all other sports, as long as social distancing rules are in effect they can do conditioning but are limited for everything else, based on the CIF guidelines that PUSD will follow.
Basketball, volleyball and water polo players cannot share a ball. Soccer players each need their own ball and can only use their feet -- no heading. Wrestlers can do mirror drills with spacing but cannot touch teammates.
Baseball and softball players can do tee work but cannot share any equipment or toss a ball among teammates. They can hit in cages and be pitched to with netting but no catcher.
Football players cannot participate in drills that have hand offs or passes. They also cannot make contact with one another or share tackling dummies, donuts or sleds. There is also no protective equipment allowed.
Cheerleaders can do choreography but are not allowed to do partner or group stunts. They are allowed to do chants, jumps, dances and tumbling without contact.
All plans are subject to change but PUSD's complete COVID-19 Action Plan is available at www.portervilleschools.org.