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Update on Summer Programming Guidelines

posted Jun 9, 2020, 9:47 AM by Floyd Wygant   [ updated Jun 9, 2020, 9:55 AM ]

TO:  MPA Schools


FROM:  Mike Burnham & Mike Bisson 


DATE:  June 3, 2020


RE:  Update on Summer Programming Guidelines


This memo is sent to each of you as an update on the work that is currently taking place within the MPA Sports Medicine Committee and the suggested guidelines for summer programming.  Some may ask why the MPA would become involved in guidelines for summer programs when it is not something that we have done in the past.  Please know that this work is being done with the goal of being able to return back to school in the fall and to be able to offer the co-curricular programming that is such a vital part of the educational process!  The committee has been working on a weekly basis, with a great deal of work being done between each meeting, to develop guidelines for schools that align with the recommendations from federal, state, and local government.  We understand that athletes, coaches, parents, and community members are looking to you for answers but as Dr. Anthony Fauci stated, “the virus will make the decision for all of us” as to whether schools will be able to reopen and sports will return.  As you all know any recommendations and guidelines are certainly subject to change as what is happening with the spread of the virus changes.  The guidelines that will be recommended are not meant to be restrictive but rather to hopefully create discussion within your district and community as you make decisions on what will be allowed in your schools and communities.  The committee is taking their time to develop a deliberate, sensible, thought-out reopening plan that both parents and educators are confident in, otherwise the work will have been for naught.

Below please find a few topics that have been discussed:

  • Through June 13 we remain in the spring season and only spring coaches should be providing individual, sport-specific workouts to athletes.  All other coaches are allowed to communicate with students but should be focusing on the health and well-being of the athletes and encouraging them to remain active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  • Starting on June 14, and running through July 5, all coaches may start coaching virtually, recommending individual training sessions that focus on individual skill development.  This time is considered a hands-off period for coaches and they should not be working with athletes in outside programs.
  • Starting on July 6 we will begin to allow coaches to work directly with athletes.  These guidelines will be available to you in the very near future.
  • The hands-off period that would have occurred from August 3-16 has been waived and guidelines regarding that two-week period will be provided to schools soon.
  • We understand that there are now numerous outside groups that are offering programs.  These programs are not a part of a school-based educational program and we have no jurisdiction over their operation.  A decision about participation in these programs is one that must be made by each family.  The decision about the use of school facilities is a local decision and not one made by the Maine Principals’ Association.
  • We encourage all districts to begin developing their reopening plan prior to the in-person instruction that can occur on July 6.
    • Review all district and community facility use policies.
    • Communicate with your central office about insurance policies regarding facility use during this pandemic.
    • Secure educational materials to share with coaches so that they may communicate with athletes about the virus.
    • Make sure the necessary cleaning and disinfecting materials that will be needed are available.
    • Communicate with the health professionals within the district regarding medical supplies and equipment and having those supplies available.
    • Review all of your Emergency Action Plans and make sure that they have been updated to include COVID-19.
    • Confirm that an AED will be available once in-person workouts begin.
  • We realize that there have been conversations about the possibility of moving some of the high risk sports offered in the fall into the spring season and moving some of the lower risk spring sports into the fall.  At this point in time that has not been a topic of conversation with our committee.  We are hoping to be able to maintain a fall season with all the sports being available.  As we move into the late spring and early summer, and it appears that we might lose some fall sports, the conversation will take place.
  • Review your policy regarding pre-participation physical exams.  There is a concern that many communities may see a significant delay in routine medical care, including physical exams for athletes.  Schools may want to consider allowing a 1-year extension for those athletes whose physical will “expire” during the 2020-2021 school year.  Those students would still be required to submit the Health History Questionnaire that is required during the years in which a physical is not required.  Any student that is a first-time participant, or has been ill with the virus, should be required to have a physical exam.
  • We would also recommend that schools allow coaches that need to renew their CPR/AED certification to be allowed to complete only the online version of the renewal and that the hands-on requirement be waived.  Any coach that has not been certified in the past should complete the entire certification process

Please know that a draft of the guidelines has been completed and will be vetted through a workgroup consisting of superintendents, principals, athletic administrators, medical providers, and the Department of Education.  This assures that these guidelines have been reviewed, and hopefully supported, by all stakeholders.  Once this review has been completed, and suggested changes made, they will be released to all schools.

 

Patty Newman
Executive Assistant


Maine Principals' Association
50 Industrial Drive
Augusta, ME 04330