TSSAA releases full details on COVID-19 sports regulations, general & sport-specific rule considerations

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TENNESSEE (WATE) — The TSSAA has released the full details of its COVID-19 related regulations and guidelines that were approved by the Board of Control on July 22, as well as general and sport-specific rule considerations for sports returning to competition.

TSSAA COVID-19 Sports Regulations

  1. Temperature checks are required for all coaches, players, and team personnel prior
    to every practice.
    • Anyone whose temperature measures 100.4 or greater must be sent
      home immediately and may not return to participation until he/she provides documentation that they have tested negative for COVID-19 or obtained a medical evaluation by a physician verifying that COVID-19 is not the cause of his/her fever.
  1. No coach, player, or team personnel may participate in practice or a contest without
    first completing appropriate COVID-19 screening.
    Persons should not participate while
    ill. If the answer is “YES” to any of the following questions, the coach, player, or team
    personnel may not participate until obtaining an evaluation by a medical provider verifying
    his/her fitness to safely do so:
    • Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past 7 days?
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Shaking chills
    • Chest pain, pressure, or tightness with exercise
    • Fatigue or difficulty with exercise
    • Racing heart rate
    • Unusual dizziness
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • Unusual rash or painful discoloration of fingers or toes
    • Do you have moderate to severe asthma, a heart condition, diabetes, chronic kidney
      or liver disease, or take medication or have a medical condition that weakens your
      immune system?
    • Have you or a family/household member been diagnosed with or tested positive for
      COVID-19 infection or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
      within the past 14 days?
      • Each coach, player, or team personnel member must be asked these questions before the first practice in which he/she participates, and again on at least a weekly basis.
      • A printed list of the questions should be given to each coach, player, or team personnel member with instructions that the questions are continuing throughout the season. If at any time the answer to any question becomes “YES,” the individual should promptly inform the head coach or team trainer and should obtain an evaluation by a medical provider before further participation.
  2. No scrimmages, jamborees, 7-on-7 practice, or other types of practice with other
    teams is permitted.
    • Team versus team competition may take place only at official contests.
      [Off-season practice in contact sports such as basketball, wrestling, etc., remains restricted to non-contact conditioning work consistent with the Governor’s order.]
  3. At contests, all coaches, players, team personnel, officials, administrators, and fans
    must have their temperatures checked before entering the facility.
    • No one whose temperature measures 100.4 or greater may be admitted. Any coach, player, and team personnel refused admission under this regulation may not return to participation until providing documentation that he/she has tested negative for COVID-19 or obtained a medical evaluation by a physician verifying that COVID-19 is not the cause of his/her fever. For spectator screening areas, if a line forms or is anticipated to form, ensure 6 or more feet of separation between persons or household groups(e.g., ground markings and/or announcements).
  4. At each contest, the following symptom checklist shall be posted prominently at the
    spectator entrance(s) instructing that anyone who is experiencing any of these symptoms
    during the preceding 7 days must not be admitted:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Shaking chills
    • Chest pain, pressure, or tightness with exercise
    • Fatigue or difficulty with exercise
    • Racing heart rate
    • Unusual dizziness
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    • Unusual rash or painful discoloration of fingers or toes
  5. At contests in localities where fan attendance is permitted, member schools are
    encouraged to limit fan attendance to a number that will allow adequate social
    distancing (e.g., 1/4 to 1/3 of typical seating capacity, depending on the characteristics
    of the particular venue) and should mark/designate bleachers or seats in order to
    promote social distancing among spectators.
    • Member schools must facilitate compliance with any applicable state or local order limiting gathering sizes for participation in public events. In consultation with local health providers, member schools in areas experiencing high virus transmission should consider further limitations on attendance (e.g., family members only, or no spectators). Limit informal gathering in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.
  6. Member schools will require that all fans wear facial coverings at all times while onsite (except children under age 2) and maintain social distancing (six feet, or the
    equivalent of two empty seats between themselves and other fans) from anyone other than those living in the same household.

  7. The temperature check and questionnaire requirements of Items 1 and 2 above, as well as the social distancing requirement of Item 7, shall also apply to members of a school band or pep band, cheerleaders, or other similar student groups attending a contest in a
    supporting role.
    • Due to the potential increased risk of virus transmission during certain activities, the use of school bands at contests is discouraged. If the band is present, limit to a halftime performance or relocate the band from the stands to other available areas away from crowds and increase the amount of physical distance between band members. Increase the amount of physical distance between cheerleaders as well as between cheerleaders and other persons if projected voices are to be used.
  8. If a public address system is in use for a contest, the host school will make public
    service announcements at various times during the contest to remind those in
    attendance to use masks and maintain physical distancing.

  9. The host school is responsible for providing staff to engage in frequent cleaning and
    sanitizing of restroom facilities during contests.

  10. Concession stands are discouraged because they tend to invite gatherings of people in
    close quarters. If a member school chooses to operate a concession stand at a contest,
    signage or other appropriate markings must be in place to encourage customers to maintain physical distancing while standing in line.
    • Where possible, schools that choose to operate concession stands are encouraged to arrange for call-in orders in order to reduce the number of people gathering to stand in line and to limit the number of concession workers. All concession stand workers must wear facial coverings and must maintain as much physical distance as possible in the confines of the concession stand.
  11. All coaches must complete the free NFHS online course “COVID-19 for Coaches and
    Administrators,” before the first contest (preferably as soon as possible).

TSSAA General Rule Considerations for sports returning to competition during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pre-Game Procedures

  • While it has always been customary to shake hands as a part of the pre-game conferences and activities, this should not take place during this pandemic.
  • Pre-game conferences will take place with fewer officials, coaches and staff than in years past. Refer to the sport-specific guidelines for details.

Team Benches

  • Social Distancing is encouraged for bench personnel. Schools should carefully consider the role of all bench personnel and eliminate those who are non-essential.
  • Players and coaches should provide their own water, sports drinks, etc.

Officials Table/Press Box

  • Should be limited to essential personnel to ensure social distancing. Schools should carefully consider the role of all personnel at the officials’ table and press box and eliminate those who are non-essential.

Post-Game Procedures

  • Handshakes, hugs, etc. have always been an integral part of postgame procedures. During this pandemic, these should not take place.

Dressing Facilities

  • If available, dressing facilities for game officials and teams should be large enough for them to use social distancing protocols and should be properly cleaned and sanitized prior to their arrival.

Contest Officials

  • Officials are not responsible for monitoring activities on the sidelines, such as social distancing, hand washing, symptoms of illness, handshakes, or other such issues. The responsibility of monitoring remains with school personnel.
  • Cloth face coverings are permissible. If worn, they should be solid in color, all alike, and
  • not contain any images or logos.
  • Electronic whistles are permissible, but not likely to be available.
  • Officials should provide their own water, sports drinks, etc.

NFHS Football Rule Modifications

Ball

  • The ball holders should maintain social distancing at all times during the contest.

Face Masks

  • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
  • Plastic shields covering the entire face (unless integrated into the face mask and attached to the helmet and clear without the presence of any tint) shall not be allowed during the contest

Gloves

  • Gloves are permissible but still must comply with Rule 1-5-2b by meeting either the NOCSAE Standard or the SFIA Specification.

Charged Time-Outs and Authorized Conferences

  • A single charged time-out may be extended to a maximum of two minutes in length.
  • The authorized conference for the charged time-out should take place between the 9- yard marks and not at the sideline for social-distancing purposes. (It would be permissible for no more than three coaches to be involved in this conference and for technology to be used.)
  • Each game official and player should have their own beverage container brought out to them on the field.

Intermission Between Periods and After Scoring

  • The intermission may be extended to a maximum of two minutes between the first and second and the third and fourth periods and following a try, successful field goal or safety, and prior to the succeeding free-kick.

Football Game Officials Manual Considerations

Game Officials Uniform and Equipment

  • Electronic whistles are permissible (supplies are limited).
  • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
  • Gloves are permissible.
  • Do not share uniforms, towels and other apparel and equipment.

Pregame Conference, Coin Toss and Overtime Procedures

  • For the coin toss, limit attendees to the referee, umpire and one designated representative from each team.
  • Coin toss should take place in the center of the field with designated individuals maintaining social distancing of 6 feet.
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet while performing all pregame responsibilities with all officiating crew members, game administration staff, line-to-gain crew, clock operators, individuals handling the balls during the game and team personnel.
  • For the overtime procedure, please use the same procedure as used at the start of the contest for the coin toss.

2020-2021 NFHS Soccer Rules Modifications

Pregame Conferences

  • Limit attendees to head referee or center referee, the head coach from each team, and a single captain from each team.
  • All individuals maintain a social distance of 6 feet.
  • Suspend handshakes prior to and following the Pregame Conference

Ball Holders

  • Encourage social distancing of six-feet.

Team Benches

  • Players and coaches are encouraged to practice social distancing in the team box.

Substitution Procedures

  • Maintain social distancing between the substitute, officials, and/or teammate(s) by encouraging subs to occur closer to the center line.

Officials Table

  • Limit to essential personnel which includes home team scorer and timer with a recommended distance of 6 feet between individuals. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location.

Pre/Post-Match Ceremony

  • Suspend the pregame world cup introduction line and send players to their field positions with bench personnel lined up on the touch line (3-6 feet apart) for introductions.

2020-2021 NFHS Volleyball Rules Modifications

Prematch Conference

  • Limit attendees to one coach from each team, first referee and second referee.
  • Move the location of the prematch conference to center court with one coach and one referee positioned on each side of the net. All four individuals maintain a social distance of 3 to 6 feet.
  • Suspend the use of the coin toss to determine serve/receive. The visiting team will serve first in set 1 and alternate first serve for the remaining non-deciding sets.
  • Suspend roster submission at the prematch conference. Rosters are submitted directly to the officials’ table before the 10-minute mark.

Team Benches

  • Suspend the protocol of teams switching benches between sets. In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. Officials will determine if a disadvantage is present.
  • Limit bench personnel to observe social distancing of three to six feet.

Deciding Set Procedures

  • Move the location of the deciding set coin toss to center court with team captains and the second referee maintaining the appropriate social distance of 3 to 6 feet. A coin toss, called by the home team, will decide serve/receive.
  • Suspend the protocol of teams switching benches before a deciding set. In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. Officials will determine if a disadvantage is present.

Substitution Procedures

  • Maintain social distancing of 3 to 6 feet between the second referee and the player and substitute by encouraging substitutions to occur within the substitution zone closer to the attack line.

Officials Table

  • Limit to essential personnel which includes home team scorer, libero tracker and timer with a recommended distance of 3 to 6 feet between individuals. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location.

Equipment and Accessories

  • Cloth face coverings are permissible.
  • Gloves are permissible.

Legal Uniform

  • Long sleeves and long pants are permissible.
  • Under-garments are permissible, but must be unadorned and of a single, solid color similar in color to the predominant color of the uniform top or bottom.

Officials Uniform and Equipment

  • By state association adoption, long-sleeved, all-white collared polo shirt/sweater are permissible.

Cross Country

Social distancing should be maintained at all times. No hugging, shaking hands, or fist bumps for support/encouragement.

Cross country meets should consider using staggered, wave or interval starts.

Possible Rule Modifications

  • Consider widening the course to at least six-feet at its narrowest point.

Finish

  • Consider using finish corrals and FAT timing for larger meets as easier to distance at finish.
  • With no FAT timing system consider alternative means of finish place and time to address congestion at finish line.
  • Consider using image-based equipment at finish to assist with picking place to avoid congestion.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and exercise equipment.

Pre/Post-Game Ceremony

  • Establish cross country-specific social distancing meet protocols including the elimination of handshakes before and after the match.

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