Prep Sports

More guidelines released for Iowa high school baseball and softball

Practice is set to begin next Monday; games start June 15

West Liberty's Austyn Crees (25) high-fives Haylee Lehman after Lehman scored the winning run during their Class 3A quar
West Liberty’s Austyn Crees (25) high-fives Haylee Lehman after Lehman scored the winning run during their Class 3A quarterfinal game at last year state softball tournament. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union have released guidelines and answers to potential questions for the high school summer sports seasons.

It’s an extensive list. Here are some of the high points:

• For school districts that decide not to sponsor summer programs, their superintendent or his/her designee must provide written correspondence to the governing bodies by June 8.

• A school district can make the determination to cancel its season at any time. If concerns are raised regarding the number of COVID-19 cases, the respective county or state department of health can cancel a school’s season.

• If a player has a positive test to COVID-19, the local school district must contact the county’s department of public health, which will provide guidelines regarding the next steps.

• If a positive test is determined, a county and/or state department of public health will provide guidance to the school regarding communication to opposing schools.

• All students are academically eligible.

• Guidance for transportation to away contests will be upcoming from the Iowa Department of Education.

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• Players and coaches should have their temperature checked at home before attending practices or games. If a student-athlete has a temperature of 100.3 or above, they should not attend practices or games. Schools are not responsible for checking temps.

• Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts. Players and coaches are encouraged to use sanitizing wipes after contact with any shared equipment. Players are encouraged to shower and wash their clothing immediately upon returning home.

• Dugouts are not to be used during practice. Players’ items should be lined up against a fence at least 6 feet apart.

• The recommendation is for workouts in “pods” of students, with the same 5-10 students always working out together. This ensures more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.

• Coaches are responsible for ensuring social distancing is maintained between players as much as possible. This means additional spacing between players while playing catch, changing drills so that players remain spaced out, and no congregating of players while waiting to bat

• Essential personnel only are permitted on the field of play. These are defined as players, coaches, trainers and umpires.

• At practice, parents must remain in their cars or drop off and pick up players after practice. At games, schools must limit the use of bleachers for fans. Schools should encourage fans to bring their own chairs or stand.

• No concession stands.

• Teams shall not exchange handshakes following the contest. Teams can acknowledge opponent with a tip of hat or other appropriate non-contact measures.

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• Masks are not required to be worn by players, umpires, coaches or spectators. If an individual would like to wear a mask on the playing field, in the dugout or in the stands, he/she may do so. It is recommended that if worn, players wear a mask that is a solid color. There is no prohibition on the color of the mask. Face shields are not allowed.

• Players are encouraged to provide their own hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes.

• Players should use their own batting helmets, bats and catching equipment as much as possible.

• Coaches must sanitize shared equipment before and after each game.

• It is recommended that sanitizers be used before and after each at-bat and when going out to and in from the field.

• Players must bring their own water/beverage to consume during and after games. No shared drinking fountains, water stations, or coolers may be used.

• Daily sanitation of the dugouts is recommended.

Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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