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In a special Arizona Interscholastic Association Executive Board meeting conducted via Zoom on Thursday May 28, the Board has endorsed a set of recommended guidelines produced by the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee for what a safe return to practice and competition could entail for the member schools.

The AIA is the sanctioning body for school sports in Arizona.

The recommendations by SMAC are meant to serve as a “living document” as the state goes forward with this process. The Board and SMAC may bring additional items forward in the future if a situation calls for it.

“Our priority through this is for the safety and well-being of all our state’s student-athletes and those that support them,” said Executive Director David Hines. “We are not guaranteed to have a fall season. We are preparing to be ready on time, but it will all depend on how this situation develops as the summer goes on. We just ask that schools, coaches, players and parents consider and utilize the guidelines until we get back to normal.”

The recommendations are based on the phased reopening of the state outlined by Governor Doug Ducey. However, local public health authorities are ultimately in charge of their communities. A recommendation by the AIA cannot supersede local ordinances. If a conflict was to occur, alternative activities may take place as long as they aren’t in violation of AIA regulations.

The AIA is currently in a period of summer participation as per the association’s handbook. It is up to schools and district personnel to properly monitor their own situations and only move forward when applicable and responsible.

Emergency legislation was also passed by the Executive Board in regard to the pre-participation physical form that is required of all member school student-athletes. A waiver was approved to allow flexibility regarding certain completed physical forms already on file to apply toward the 2020-21 school year and alleviate some burden of families traveling to visit a medical professional during this time. Further guidance will be shared directly with the state’s athletic directors.

The spring school sports season was cut short when the schools were closed by Gov. Ducey and State School Superintendent Kathy Hoffman in March. When the schools were closed for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, the remainder of the entire spring sports season was cancelled.

The 12 pages of guidelines can be found at the website, aiaonline.org

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