Okaloosa School District announces plan for Summer sports and band activities

Superintendent Marcus Chambers released the District’s Summer Activities Plan that includes guidelines for summer athletics, band, cheer and dance programs.

The plan is a phased approach to bringing students back on campuses this summer and places a priority on student and staff health and safety. It allows groups no larger than ten in an area, requires health screenings and temperature checks daily and calls for enhanced cleaning protocols.

“This plan has been reviewed by our local health officials, and we believe that it is an appropriate first step that allows our students to re-engage with their classmates and teammates this summer”, said Chambers. 

District staff worked closely with School Principals, Band Directors and Athletic Directors and reviewed the National Federation of High Schools guidelines to come up with a plan that allows programs to begin the critical summer work that is needed to develop the top-quality teams and bands that have become a hallmark of Okaloosa County.

Chambers said he is pleased that work will continue beginning next week. “Year after year, we have the best band, athletic, cheer and dance programs in the State of Florida, and that doesn’t happen by chance. I am confident our programs will continue to flourish in whatever the ‘new normal’ looks like going forward.”

The Summer Activities Plan allows for the gradual relaxing of certain protocols, such as the maximum number who can be in a group, when it is appropriate to do so. Decisions on when to move to a different phase of the plan will be made with the input of state and local officials. 

Sports examples include:

  • A basketball player can shoot with a ball(s), but a team should not practice/pass a single ball among the team where multiple players touch the same ball.
  • A football player should not participate in team drills with a single ball that will be handed off or passed to other teammates. Contact with other players is not allowed, and there should be no sharing of tackling dummies/donuts/sleds.
  • A volleyball player should not use a single ball that others touch or hit in any manner.
  • Softball and baseball players should not share gloves, bats, or throw a single ball that will be tossed among the team. A single player may hit in cages, throw batting practice (with netting as backstop, no catcher). Prior to another athlete using the same balls, they should be collected and cleaned individually.
  • Wrestlers may skill and drill without touching a teammate.
  • Cheerleaders may not practice/perform partner stunts or building. (Chants, jumps, dances without contact are permissible.)
  • Tennis players may do individual drills, wall volleys and serves.
  • Runners should maintain the recommended 6 feet of distancing between individuals

Band examples include:

  • The practice field will be marked to ensure a minimum of 6 feet distancing between individuals. Students will focus on individual skill improvement and will not share instruments.
  • Each student will have their own labeled water bottle and water fountains will not be used.
  • Band room chairs and music stands will be cleaned before used by another student.
  • Additional small groups of 10 may meet on opposite ends of the practice field, in the band room, or other designated areas as long as the small group size does not exceed nine students per one adult.
  • If additional small groups are planned, arrival and departure times will be staggered to avoid exceeding the small group limits in common areas, parking lots, etc.
  • Designated indoor spaces should be reserved for outdoor groups in the event of inclement weather.

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