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Fayette County high school fall sports set to return June 29

High school sports are returning to Lexington, as the Fayette County Public School district has finalized the details regarding the return. Practice will resume for fall sports – cheerleading, cross country, dance, football, golf, soccer and volleyball – on June 29, followed by middle school sports and other high school sports on July 6. Allowed activities remain limited to conditioning and skills training; games, scrimmages and game-like activities are not yet allowed under KHSAA rules. No date has been set for when those limitations will end.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our students and staff, and we believe we have taken all the steps necessary to ensure a safe return to campus,” Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Manny Caulk said in a press release Wednesday evening.

The KHSAA originally approved and released a 13-page plan detailing the return of high school athletics in the Bluegrass on May 29, which allowed teams to resume structured workouts on June 15. FCPS utilized a task force of district leaders, school principals, athletic directors, athletic trainers and coaches to developed Fayette County’s own detailed plans, protocols and safety procedures that will align with guidance from the CDC and Governor’s Office, while meeting KHSAA and Lexington-Fayette County Health Department recommendations.

“Although their plans allowed groups of 10 or fewer to participate in on-campus conditioning as early as June 15, our work team felt strongly about taking additional time to ensure all of our schools were fully ready to safely resume practice before welcoming back our more than 5,200 student athletes,” said Fayette County Public Schools High School Chief James McMillin.

McMillin noted the availability of the district’s athletic trainers played a role in the decision. Four of the district’s six trainers had pre-planned vacations during June, which is typically considered the “dead period” for high school athletics.

Our commitment to families is that an athletic trainer will be present any time our student athletes are practicing or playing, and this will not be possible until after June 29,” McMillin added.

FCPS is still in the process of finalizing its “Return to Play Guidelines,” which will include more detailed information for students, staff and families. In the mean time, the district is implementing the following changes in order to allow for COVID-19 concerns.

District Expectations:

  • Installing signage for designated work out areas around campus, and for drop off and pick up points to avoid congregation of students and families before, during, and after practice sessions.
  • Adding outdoor sanitizing stations.
  • Working with Kentucky American Water Company to procure individual water bottles for each athlete.
  • Ensuring an adequate inventory of face shields, masks and no touch thermometers.
  • Training coaches.
  • Developing practice schedules to ensure adequate space for teams and social distancing guidelines.

Family Expectations:

  • Ensure child is healthy and check their child’s temperature daily.
  • Provide a full water bottle for each training.
  • Carpooling with other teammates is prohibited.
  • Adhere to social distance requirements based on state and local health guidelines. Entering the practice area or assisting the coach/director with equipment before or after training is prohibited.
  • Wash child’s clothing after every training session.
  • Sanitize all equipment/instruments (e.g. cleats, ball, etc.) before and after every training.
  • Notify the coach/director immediately if your child becomes ill for any reason.
  • Be sure your child has necessary sanitizer with them at all times.

Athlete Expectations:

  • Temperature should be taken daily.
  • Wash hands thoroughly before and after training.
  • Bring own water bottle to every practice.
  • Bring hand sanitizer to every training for personal use.
  • Wear mask before and immediately after all training.
  • Do not touch or share anyone else’s equipment, water, snack or bag.
  • Practice social distancing by placing bags and equipment at least 6 feet apart.
  • Wash and sanitize all equipment before and after every training.
  • Refrain from group celebrations, including high fives, hugs, handshakes etc.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)