Tulsa Public Schools released its athletics guidelines for fall sports Friday. The guidelines detail what steps the district will take regarding COVID-19.
The Athletic Director for TPS said kids need to get back to sports for their mental health, but their physical health is just as important. For now, fall sports at Tulsa Public Schools is a go, and for TPS Athletic Director Gil Cloud, keeping athletes safe is the number one goal.
"What's most important is the health and safety of our student-athletes and our coaches," said Cloud.
That's why the district is changing how sports operate this fall. For now, no fans are allowed at volleyball. That's disappointing for Joelle McBride, who won't get to watch her daughter play.
"Of course, we would love to see our kids play, I mean everybody loves to see their kid play the sport that they love," said McBride.
Fans are allowed for outdoor sports, but wearing a mask is mandatory. Cloud said certain rows and seats will be blocked off the main social distancing.
Cloud said there will be concessions at games, but they will only consist of pre-packaged food.
"If you're coming in be prepared to wear a mask, if not, you will not be allowed to enter the facility," Cloud said.
Athletes won't have to wear a mask while playing, but they will have to wear one all other times. Cloud says player health is a top priority.
"We want to make sure that we're transparent with all of our teams if somebody does test positive," he said.
Cloud said if a player tests positive for COVID-19, they'll be out for two weeks, and can return once they get a negative test result. Anyone who came in contact with a positive player will be out for 3 days while their symptoms are monitored.
Cloud said the district has done 15,000 temperature and symptom checks during summer workouts so far, and 4 of those were turned away. He said 15 athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, but he believes they contracted the virus somewhere other than practice.
Below is the letter sent out Friday by Gil Cloud.
"As we start this fall season of 2020 it will be different than any sports season that any of us have encountered. Tulsa Public Schools wants each of you to know that health and safety for all is our major concern as we re-start our competitive sports programing for this year. The following guidelines will be followed in all TPS athletics facilities during the 2020-2021 school year:
We want to welcome you to our facilities and hope that you have a great experience while you visit any of our nine high schools or 10 middle schools. Should you have any questions please contact us at 918-746-6453 or email@example.com
Special Guidelines for Volleyball
Tulsa Public Schools will not allow spectators in our facilities for volleyball matches during the 2020 season.
Coaches are required to wear a face covering at all times.
During competition and during practice---Players are required to wear a face covering entering the facility or traveling within the facility, the only time the face covering may be removed is during competition or practice on the court.
Locker rooms will not be opened please make sure all players enter the facility dressed and ready for competition or practice.
One coach from each team, first referee and second referee.
The location of the pre-match conference to center court with one coach and one referee positioned on each side of the net.
All four individuals maintain a social distance of 3 to 6 feet.
TPS will suspend the use of the coin toss to determine serve/receive. The visiting team will serve first in set 1 and alternate first serve for the remaining non-deciding sets.
TPS will suspend roster submission at the pre-match conference. Rosters are submitted directly to the officials’ table before the 10-minute mark.
TPS will suspend the protocol of teams switching benches between sets. In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. Officials will determine if a disadvantage is present.
Teams will limit bench personnel to observe social distancing of 3 to 6 feet. Bench chairs will be placed 6 feet apart to ensure social distancing.
Officials are required to wear a face covering during the match.
Officials will use a hand whistle during all matches rather than a mouth whistle.
Deciding Set Procedures
The location of the deciding set coin toss will be the center court with team captains and the second referee maintaining the appropriate social distance of 3 to 6 feet. A coin toss, called by the home team, will decide serve/receive.
TPS will suspend the protocol of teams switching benches before a deciding set. In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. Officials will determine if a disadvantage is present.
Players will maintain social distancing of 3 to 6 feet between the second referee and the player and substitute by encouraging substitutions to occur within the substitution zone closer to the attack line.
The table will be limited to essential personnel which includes home team scorer, libero tracker and timer with a recommend distance of 3 to 6 feet between individuals. Official table personnel will wear a face covering. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location.
Pre Match & Post Match
Handshakes will not be permitted. Athletes are encouraged to show sportsmanship verbally.