The Arizona Interscholastic Association has released their guidelines for high schools in Arizona to return to athletic activities. They say these guidelines take into account the continued presence of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the community, and the best practices for preventing the spread of the virus to athletes, coaches, staff and spectators.
The 2020-21 school year saw severe restrictions placed on athletics because of the virus. There were schools around the state, especially in tribal areas and the northern part of the state, that cancelled their fall sports programs because their communities had been hit so hard by the virus. The AIA initially cancelled the winter sports season as the number of new virus cases surged, but they later changed their minds and put restrictions on the number of spectators, required face masks at all times, and mandated standards for social distancing.
The AIA said the major difference between the last school year and the current one is the presence of effective vaccines against the virus. They urge all athletes and others involved in school athletics to be vaccinated.
According to the AzPreps365 website, the document was last updated Aug. 4. The introduction to the guidelines reads as follows:
“The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) strongly supports the return of athletics and competitive sports. However, it must be done so in the safest way possible. The following document provides guidance and recommendations for continuing athletic activity in AIA member schools and programs while COVID-19 is present in the community. As a living document, this may be updated as new information and recommendations become available.”
“Authored by members of the Sport Medical Advisory Committee, this document includes recommendations for athletes, coaches, administrators, and facilities.”
“The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes the benefits of physical activity particularly in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge is to support physical activity in a manner that follows federal, state, county, and district public health guidelines to reduce the spread of illness amongst athletes, coaches, athletic training staff, and the community. This document outlines current recommendations from the CDC regarding safe participation in sport.”
To read the full document, go to www.aiaonline.org/files/17051/aia-recommended-guidelines-for-return-to-activity.pdf.