Getting the green light to begin out-of-season workouts for athletes, Augusta County schools are taking a slow but steady approach.
According to Stuarts Draft athletic director Steve Hartley, the Cougars had a football meeting on Tuesday to discuss how workouts could begin on an individual basis.
Hartley hopes he can safely open up the weight rooms soon and once the team is divided into training groups, they will remain in the same groups due to safety precautions.
“I wish I knew when we could start competition, but we are still in limbo,” Hartley said.
The Virginia High School League in following state guidelines has allowed schools to reopen their sports programs, albeit on a completely different format.
For example, Hartley said each coach must submit a workout program to him with safety guidelines included and have it approved before resuming training or practices and waivers must be signed before proceeding.
“We have to be careful, but everyone wants to get back to doing something,” Hartley said. “I think our sports seasons will be more limited.”
Regular school sessions are slated to begin in Augusta County on Aug. 18.
The VHSL executive committee will meet again at the end of the month with further information and guidelines for schools to implement for their athletic programs.
At Wilson, athletic director Craig Flesher has been holding zoom meetings with the coaches and has also attended meetings with the other athletic directors from Buffalo Gap, Riverheads, Fort Defiance and Stuarts Draft to put together county-wide guidelines.
“I’ve been grateful at how we’ve been able to work on things and how careful our coaches have responded,” Flesher said. “It’s one step at a time.”
On Monday, the boys basketball team was able to get together for the first time for Wilson.
“Wrestling will be meeting outside and girls basketball met Tuesday; I have volleyball coming in next Monday and also football,” Flesher said.
The usual dead period for July which suspends practices at certain times of the year has been dropped for this month, due to the current situation regarding athletic programs.
But as both Flesher and Hartley indicated, there is more unknown to deal with than known.
“This situation changes like every 10 days, so we are kind of doing things on the fly,” Flesher said. “We didn’t take a class in my Master’s program to deal with anything like this.”
With many students away on vacation, Riverheads is waiting a week before beginning out-of-season workouts.
“We have to prepare and understand how we are going to adjust to the demands of the CDC. We will get geared up more next week with everything,” said Tim Morris, athletic director at Riverheads. “We are planning to have practices for several different sports, including some spring sports. Our intention is that no sports season will be lost.”
Riverheads hopes to get all the seasons played in a way that is fair and equitable, Morris said.
For now, there will be no scrimmaging or live action because the proper social distance for athletes who are actively exercising is 10 feet, he said.
“We can’t scrimmage or have live action because of the social distancing requirements,” Morris said. “It will be more drill action.”
Although everything is still up in the air about when the seasons will start, how long they will last or how that will be structured, area schools will have each student and parent/guardian sign a waiver and each coach will ask a set of pre-screening questions to each student before each activity.