FAYETTE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – Fayette County Public Schools will begin a phased-in return for outdoor athletics and extra-curricular activities on June 29.
Practice will resume for fall sports at the high school level — cheerleading, cross country, dance, football, golf, soccer and volleyball — on June 29, followed by middle school sports and other high school sports on July 6.
“Nothing is more important than the safety of our students and staff, and we believe we have taken all the steps necessary to ensure a safe return to campus,” said Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk.
A task force of district leaders, school principals, athletic directors, athletic trainers and coaches has developed detailed plans, protocols and safety procedures that are aligned with guidance from the CDC and Governor’s Office and meet both Kentucky High School Athletic Association (KHSAA) and Lexington-Fayette County Health Department recommendations to minimize risk for students, staff and families.
On May 29, the KHSAA released its 13-page guidance document outlining the measures schools and districts must take to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. That document was revised on June 11.
“Although their plans allowed groups of 10 or fewer to participate in on-campus conditioning as early as June 15, our work team felt strongly about taking additional time to ensure all of our schools were fully ready to safely resume practice before welcoming back our more than 5,200 student athletes,” said Fayette County Public Schools High School Chief James McMillin, noting the primary consideration in this decision was the availability of athletic trainers.
Since June usually falls within the KHSAA “dead period,” four of the six trainers who serve FCPS high schools had pre-planned vacations during this time.
“Our commitment to families is that an athletic trainer will be present any time our student athletes are practicing or playing, and this will not be possible until after June 29,” McMillin said.
Other safety measures the district has taken or is in the process of completing include:
- Installing signage for designated work out areas around campus, and for drop off and pick up points to avoid congregation of students and families before, during, and after practice sessions.
- Adding outdoor sanitizing stations.
- Working with Kentucky American Water Company to procure individual water bottles for each athlete.
- Ensuring an adequate inventory of face shields, masks and no touch thermometers.
- Training coaches.
- Developing practice schedules to ensure adequate space for teams and social distancing guidelines.
“Although we will not be back together for another couple weeks, we have instructed our coaches to make contact with their teams so student athletes can be conditioning at home until we return to campus,” Caulk said.
The district is in the process of finalizing its ‘Return to Play Guidelines,’ which will include detailed information for students, staff and families. Each coach will be responsible for reviewing these expectations with their teams and families.
In the meantime, district leaders asked families to prepare for the following expectations to ensure student athletes are prepared to return:
- Ensure child is healthy and check their child’s temperature daily.
- Provide a full water bottle for each training.
- Carpooling with other teammates is prohibited.
- Adhere to social distance requirements based on state and local health guidelines. Entering the practice area or assisting the coach/director with equipment before or after training is prohibited.
- Wash child’s clothing after every training session.
- Sanitize all equipment/instruments (e.g. cleats, ball, etc.) before and after every training.
- Notify the coach/director immediately if your child becomes ill for any reason.
- Be sure your child has necessary sanitizer with them at all times.
- Temperature should be taken daily.
- Wash hands thoroughly before and after training.
- Bring own water bottle to every practice.
- Bring hand sanitizer to every training for personal use.
- Wear mask before and immediately after all training.
- Do not touch or share anyone else’s equipment, water, snack or bag.
- Practice social distancing by placing bags and equipment at least 6 feet apart.
- Wash and sanitize all equipment before and after every training.
- Refrain from group celebrations, including high fives, hugs, handshakes etc.