SOFLO’s Mallory Schleicher Named Scholastic All-American; One Of Nine FGC Swimmers Selected


By Sharon Robb


PEMBROKE PINES, September 22, 2020–South Florida Aquatic Club’s Mallory Schleicher has been named USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.

The Cooper City High School junior and state meet qualifier as a freshman and sophomore, was the only SOFLO swimmer to earn All-American honors.

The distance swimmer, who recently verbally committed to University of Florida, is a Summer and Winter Junior Nationals qualifier. In March, she was second in both the 400 individual medley and 1500 freestyle and third in the 400 freestyle at sectionals.

Last summer, she had five Top 20 finishes at the Gainesville Sectionals before placing fifth in the 400 IM and ninth in the 400 freestyle at the Greensboro Futures. She has her Futures cuts in the 200 and 800 freestyle and 200 and 1,650 freestyle.

Her long course meters best times are: 400 IM, 4:53.96; 200 IM, 2:22.53; 1,500 free, 17:18.67; 800 free, 9:08.38; 400 free, 4:21.95; and 200 free, 2:05.41.

And, her short course yards best times are 1,650 free, 17:11.62; 1,000 free, 10:23.53; 500 free, 4:55.86; 200 free, 1:52.55 and 400 IM, 4:26.04.

Schleicher is also an outstanding open water swimmer. At the 2019 USA Swimming Open Water Junior National Championships she was seventh in the 5K against the nation’s top swimmers.

Other Florida Gold Coast swimmers named USA Swimming Scholastic All-American are Anna Auld of East Coast Aquatics, Megan Murphy of East Coast Aquatics, Josh Zuchowski of Flood Aquatics, Heidi Smithwick of Jupiter Dragons, Paige Maceachern of Pine Crest, Julia Podkoscielny of Pine Crest, Ella Martinez of St. Andrew’s and Philip Moldovan of Wellington Wahoos.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

No Fall High School State Series For Public Schools In Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade


By Sharon Robb


PEMBROKE PINES, September 22, 2020—It’s official. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach County public schools have opted out of post-season tournaments and meets.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced student-athletes including swimmers and divers, to put their dream of district, region and state titles on hold for a year.

The counties athletic departments have opted out of the Florida High School Athletic Association state series. The deadline to opt in or out was Friday. The counties are opting out of fall sports only.

Five public schools in Miami-Dade opted in to the state series for football only: Miami Central, Miami Northwestern, Miami Palmetto, Homestead and Miami Edison.

Several private schools also opted in to the state series including American Heritage Plantation, Cardinal Gibbons, Chaminade-Madonna and St. Thomas Aquinas.

That means six of the eight state champions in football will have a chance to defend their titles. Two other state champion teams–Miami Columbus and Miami Booker T. Washington–opted out. The minimum-game requirement to qualify for the FHSAA postseason has been waived this fall.

Broward County athletic director Shawn Cerra told the media that Broward County has every intention of competing in the winter and spring state series particularly if the COVID-19 positivity percentage trends continue to drop.

On Monday, student-athletes started outdoor fall conditioning per FHSAA guidelines.

Football games are scheduled to begin the final week of October, one week before the FHSAA state playoffs are scheduled.

For swimming, under FHSAA guidelines, dryland conditioning is Sept. 21-26; practice at pool, Sept. 29-Oct. 10; regular season meet period (five total, one per week), Oct. 13-Nov. 14; and post-season championship, Nov. 16-21. The season ends before the Thanksgiving break week.

Cross country meets begin Oct. 5, bowling begins Oct. 13 and volleyball games will start Oct. 26.

According to Palm Beach County officials, the public school football season may conclude with bowl games between teams from Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. No such plan for a tri-county meet in swimming has been announced.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

NSU University School Moves Swimming, Diving Season To Spring


By Sharon Robb


FORT LAUDERDALE, September 9, 2020—The COVID-19 pandemic has forced NSU University School officials to make some tough decisions for the 2020-21 high school sports seasons.

Sharks Athletic Director Paul Herfurth announced the swimming and diving season will not be held during the fall and will move to the spring.

Aside from Pine Crest School, which had already cancelled its swimming and diving season this fall and prestigious Woodson Invitational, no other high school team in Broward has announced its plans for the swimming and diving season.

During the 2019 season, NSU University School was the top Broward finisher at the FHSAA State 1A Swimming and Diving Championships in Stuart. The Sharks finished sixth in the girls’ competition and 13th in the boys competition. The Sharks qualified all six of its relays for the state meet.

At the Region 4-1A meet, the Sharks were again top Broward finisher placing third among the boys and girls teams.

The Sharks made history at the District 11-1A Swimming and Diving Championships. The girls team won for the first time ever among a seven-team field and the boys team captured its second district title. The last time the Sharks won the boys title was 2013.

At least swimmers and divers will get the opportunity to compete. NSU University School officials decided to cancel football, girls volleyball and cheerleading this year because of COVID-19. The Sharks were considered a state football title contender this season.

Herfurth said medical officials and administrators at the high school and college advised that according to medical opinion that it was not safe for student-athletes to compete in high-risk sports.

Many of the football players, however, will play for TRU Prep Academy, an independent program at a private school in Miami Gardens. The players remain NSU University School students despite playing football at another school.

According to FHSAA bylaws, athletes are allowed to play for another team if the private school they attend does not offer the sport they want to play.

The Sharks are allowing cross country and golf to be held during the fall.

An email distributed to the coaching staff thanked them for their understanding in these trying times.

“Thank you for your support, patience, and consideration through this very challenging time. I know that our student-athletes and coaches have been anxious to return to sports and we continue to work on various plans to make that happen in the safest, most effective way possible.

“Although conditions have improved in Florida, NSU’s medical professionals and administration have determined that it is still not safe to have our student-athletes participate in what has been determined as “high risk” fall sports. We know this is a tremendous disappointment for our student-athletes who are involved in these programs, but I can assure you that we are committed to continuing these programs once we are cleared to do so. Although we will not compete in a large group capacity, our coaches are committed to setting up controlled, small group training sessions that follow all safety guidelines and protocols.

“At this time, we have been cleared to compete in boys and girls golf as well as boys and girls cross country for the fall season. We are moving the swimming and diving season to later in the school year with an anticipated March 1st start date at NSU Aquatics Center.

“NSU’s medical professionals and administration will re-evaluate our plans to move forward for our winter sports on October 1st. At that point, we will make adjustments as needed and keep you informed of updates and start dates.

“Once again, I know this is a big disappointment to our student-athletes, parents, and coaches and it personally saddens me to have to communicate this decision to you. NSU University School’s coaches and athletic department remain committed to creating positive experiences for our student-athletes as we continue to navigate through this difficult time. Thank you for your understanding.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Big Week For FHSAA: Fate Of Fall High School Sports Hangs In Balance, No Live Streaming Of Crucial Vote


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, August 10, 2020—The Florida High School Athletic Association Board of Directors will decide the fate of the fall high school sports season, including swimming and diving, this week in front of a limited audience.

Two key meetings are scheduled. On Tuesday the FHSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) will present its three plans to the FHSAA Board of Directors.

On Friday, the FHSAA Board of Directors final voting session, based on input from several committees including the Athletic Director Advisory Committee, will be held.

In July, SMAC created a report that said starting football and volleyball is unsafe because those sports present a high risk of spreading the coronavirus. The board of directors relied on the SMAC report when voting to delay the start of fall practices from July 27 to Aug. 24.

SMAC also recommended that schools do not start sports until the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is 5% or lower in its county, a suggestion the board opted against. The positivity rate statewide was 9.1% according to the Florida Department of Health. The rate varies widely by county particularly in South Florida, still a “hot spot” in Phase 1.

SMAC is expected to move back the start of sports even further than Aug. 24 based on current COVID-19 numbers.

The FHSAA Board of Directors’ 16-person panel is set to meet in person Friday at the Best Western Gateway Grand in Gainesville at 10 a.m. However, a live stream of the meeting isn’t planned by the FHSAA, much to the disappointment of parents, athletes and coaches. The first two zoom emergency meetings were live streamed on YouTube and attracted a viewership of more than 4,000 from around the state including media.

An FHSAA official said only 50 people, including board members and staff, will be allowed into the meeting ballroom because of Alachua County social-distancing restrictions. That unexpected move has already attracted heavy criticism as the FHSAA’s 700-plus member schools await the vote.

Coaches, parents and athletes assumed Friday’s meeting would be live streamed since the first two meetings were. FHSAA executive director George Tomyn has been asked for the meeting to be streamed to the public, but he has already said there would be no broadcast. Several media outlets have also complained about lack of access.

“I’m not trying to avoid anything,” Tomyn told the Orlando Sentinel last Friday. “This is how we decided to do things because this is the customary arrangement for our meetings. Of course, the social-distancing requirements mean we cannot accommodate as many people, but this is our standard meeting procedure. We’re an athletic association, not a broadcasting company.”

The FHSAA has an email address, questions@fhsaa.org, set up for anyone who wants to offer suggestions or ask questions. Those must be received before 8 a.m. on Friday to be shared with all board members for consideration. On an announcement on its FHSAA website, individuals who wish to speak to the board can attend the meeting and sign up on site prior to the start of the meeting.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FHSAA State Athletic Directors Weigh-In On Start Of Fall Sports


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, August 6, 2020–The Athletic Directors Advisory Committee met Wednesday morning to discuss the Florida High School Athletic Association’s three options for scheduling fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The athletic directors received input from the fall sports advisory committees, including swimming and diving, that met last week.

No official vote or action was taken but 13 of the 15 athletic directors on the committee listed Option 1 or Option 3 as their first choices.

The athletic directors also talked about plans for starting sports in their own counties which varied.

Option 1 is to begin fall practices as currently planned on Aug. 24 with shortened regular seasons and state playoffs the same.

Option 3 moves the start of all sports as late as Nov. 30 and condense the three sports regular seasons (fall, winter, spring) to about five weeks each before the playoffs.

Option 2 would allow schools to start any time after August, at a date they determine, and would eliminate statewide playoffs in fall sports.

The common opinion among athletic directors was the fact they want to offer the student-athletes some kind of athletic experience with a sense of normalcy in a safe manner.

The advisory committees for golf, cross country, bowling, volleyball and football coaches were in favor of Option 1.

The swimming and diving coaches wanted Option 3 because of the lack of facilities available for their sport. Option 3 would move swimming and golf, sports that play at venues outside most of the schools, to the spring.

According to the FHSAA plan, Option 3 had fall sports starting Nov. 30, winter sports on Feb. 15, and spring sports on April 26. The FHSAA emphasized it is flexible with those dates.

Nothing from Wednesday’s meeting was etched in stone. The FHSAA will include the input from all its advisory committees, including the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC)which meets again on Aug. 11, before the board of directors final vote on Aug. 14.

Earlier this summer, the sports medicine committee presented a report that said starting football and volleyball is unsafe because those sports present a high risk of spreading COVID-19. Based on the report, the FHSAA board of directors voted to delay the start of fall practices from July 27 to Aug. 24.

SMAC recommended that schools do not start sports until the positivity rate of COVID-19 tests is 5% or lower in its county, which the board opted against. According to this week’s Florida Department of Health statistics, the positivity rate statewide was 9.1%. The rate varies by county with South Florida being the “hot spot.”

Many high school districts are also eliminating athletic travel outside their area this fall.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FHSAA Advisory Committees Presented With Three Proposals For High School Sports Seasons; Swimming, Diving May Move To Spring


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, July 29, 2020—-The Florida High School Athletic Association went back to the drawing board to try and find a solution when to begin high school sports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to sources, three proposals have been emailed to the Advisory Committees for each sport and are being discussed today and Thursday.

Two deal strictly with fall sports including a proposal to eliminate all state championships, and the third moves fall, winter and spring sports that would change the entire sports calendar for 2020-21.

The statewide start for fall sports was pushed back to Aug. 24 after backlash from South Florida school officials, coaches and parents. As of now, no high school sports team in the state is allowed to practice or try out until Aug. 24.

PROPOSAL ONE: Practice would begin statewide on Aug. 24 with regular seasons starting on Sept. 11 and lasting about nine weeks through Nov. 6.

PROPOSAL TWO: The start of practice and seasons would start after August on a date still to be determined with the regular seasons extended until Nov. 28.

PROPOSAL THREE: The fall sports season starts on Nov. 30 with the regular seasons to be condensed to five or six weeks opening Dec. 14. The regular season would end around Jan. 23. Winter and spring sports season would also be delayed. Winter sports practices begin Feb. 15 with the season starting March 1 and ending April 3. Spring sports would begin practices on April 26 with regular seasons at May 10 and ending June 12. The sports calendar would finish on June 26. Tennis would move to the winter season and golf, swimming and diving would move to the spring season.

The proposals were emailed to members of the FHSAA Advisory Committees for each sport including swimming, diving and water polo on Tuesday. They were expected to review the plans today and Thursday.

The FHSAA will then take recommendations and present its plan for 2020-21 to the Board of Directors, expected to meet between Aug. 10 and Aug. 17. The Advisory Committees are not allowed to institute the plans on their own. They must be approved and voted upon by the FHSAA Board of Governors.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

SOFLO College Prep Advisor Natasha Moodie Unveils New 2020-21 College Prep Guide


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, July 28, 2020—The enthusiasm in her voice spoke volumes how excited Natasha Moodie was about the first SOFLO College Prep Guide for 2020-21.

The South Florida Aquatic Club College Prep Advisor unveiled the new program for SOFLO swimmers and parents during a recent zoom presentation.

“I am very excited about this,” Moodie said. “Hopefully, it is helpful to you all. Of course, I will be asking for feedback since it is our first time doing this.”

The 2008 Olympian, University of Michigan alum and former SOFLO swimmer put together an impressive 30-page resource to help guide high school swimmers and parents through the daunting task of selecting a college and what it entails leading up to signing.

“In my work in education and this past year with SOFLO, I have noticed that access to information about this college process is really hard to get to,” Moodie said. “You have to know where to look and there are ten places to look. All the divisions have their own websites. There are websites for the SAT and ACT, how to get recruited for swimming and for scholarships.

“I wanted to put together a resource that provides all the information in one place for our membership, ninth grade through 12th grade. It is a large document. I did not create this for you to be overwhelmed. The goal is to alleviate stress and increase planning. It’s not meant to sit down one evening and read all 30 pages at one time and to complete all the tasks.”

For this upcoming year everything is going to be virtual regarding SOFLO student college preparation, according to Moodie.

“Last year I was on the pool deck a lot but because of the pandemic we will be virtual,” she said. “I will still provide the same services and more but all through zoom for the foreseeable future.”

Moodie will provide monthly zoom sessions for all grade levels from incoming freshmen to rising seniors on various topics throughout the year. She also plans to send out a monthly newsletter to the high school student-athletes and parents that will include information for college preparation. She is also available for individual sessions.

Moodie suggested student-athletes should only work with the section that they need at the time and work at their own pace.

Moodie emphasized the guide is only for SOFLO clientele. There will be no distribution outside the SOFLO family. Moodie will send out a PDF copy to SOFLO membership. It will be available for its first distribution on July 30th.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FHSAA Votes To Start Fall Sports On Schedule With Several Districts In COVID-19 Holding Pattern


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, July 21, 2020—While heated discussions continue over how to re-start school this fall, the state decided to keep high school sports on schedule except for the “hot spots” in Florida including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, Greater Orlando and Jacksonville.

In nearly a five-hour emergency meeting Monday on a zoom platform, the Florida High School Athletic Association’s Board of Directors voted to start the high school fall season on schedule, but only in a few counties around the state because of the rising COVID-19 case numbers.

Orlando-area public schools have already postponed fall sports “until further notice.” Also on Monday, the Georgia High School Association voted to push back fall sports by two weeks, Massachusetts, North and South Carolina are not starting until mid- or late September and California Interscholastic Federation voted to realign its sports calendar, moving fall sports into spring with a start to competition expected in December 2020 or January 2021.

FHSAA Board members and athletic directors Mark Schusterman of Riviera Prep and Carlos Ochoa of Hialeah Gardens were the most vocal during the marathon meeting that featured more than 4,000 listeners/viewers from around the state.

Practices for all fall sports is scheduled to get under way Monday, July 27th, only if district, county and local government rules allow it. Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach public schools will not be able to begin practice since they are considered a “hot spot.” Schusterman talked about moving the practice date to Aug. 10 which would have delayed the sports calendar.

“This is a very critical topic right now,” said chairwoman Lauren Otero, athletic director at Tampa Plant. “We have been thrown into the fire with the pandemic.

“This is tied into the mental health and well-being of all students and student- athletes as well as physical health and well being,” Otero said. “We never had a blanket announcement to cancel sports. It never was a topic of discussion.”

With that in mind, the Board voted to keep the full fall calendar in tact including post-season events, state meets and tournaments. Some schools will be allowed flexibility to be allowed to play a full or half season on time or delayed a month or two.

Schools that are unable to start on time will be unable to qualify for the post-season events but will be allowed to continue competing during the regular season or exhibition games during the FHSAA playoffs and post-season meets and tournaments.

One of the most informative presentations was by Dr. Jennifer Maynard of the Mayo Clinic, chairwoman for the FHSAA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. She outlined guidelines approved by a SMAC task forced last Thursday that mirror the guidelines of the National High School Federation. The recommendations were distributed to the Board Monday morning.

“It is important to take into account the scientific risks, health of coaches, officials, athletic staff and parents,” Maynard said during her 30-minute presentation.

The recommendations were:

1. Delay the start of football and girls’ volleyball until further notice because of the sports’ high risk for transmission with collision impact and indoor facility as a venue for girls volleyball. SMAC will re-evaluate the Covid data two to three weeks after the start of school year. Student-athletes are students first and foremost, she said. “We need to have at least two weeks of practice to acclimate and avoid injuries before those sports re-start.” The remainder of fall sports are considered “low risk” including golf, cross country (a staggered start will be needed because of contact), bowling, swimming and diving.

2. All FHSAA-member schools need to have Covid screening in place where temperatures are taken daily.

3. Before any participation, athletes must sign a certificate of risk and waiver that is signed by the student-athletes, parent or guardian. Schools should have protocols in place for Covid-positive cases where they should be removed and evaluated followed by a 14-day quarantine. A medicial clearance is needed to return to play much like the concussion clearance.

4. Universal masking and social distancing is a must. Fan attendance should not be allowed at this time, though it is a local district’s decision. No fans in stands is suggested.

“We have a moral and ethical duty to make sound and fair recommendations based on medical facts,” she said. “Football and girls’ volleyball are not medically safe.”

While all the recommendations were approved with unanimous 10-0 votes by the SMAC task force, the FHSAA Board did not vote for the proposals. They voted to re-convene of Aug. 3 at 5 p.m. to consider the recommendations.

Bobby Johns, athletic director at Wewahitchka said if the Governor is supporting school openings and has a fall plan, why shouldn’t the FHSAA stay with its original schedule. His football program would lose $16,000 if it did not compete in its Fall Classic, he said.

If the committee had moved the date, Johns said, “We need to be prepared today to address the dominoes that are going to fall.”

The challenges facing the plans to re-start include equitable conditions for teams to financial stresses for athletic departments particuarly football programs, a major revenue maker to support other sports. There is also a chance athletes would transfer from a “hot spot” county to another county that is able to have a complete schedule.

Miami-Dade has been hardest hit, reaching 22.6 percent positivity in the Florida Department of Health’s according to a Monday report. Schusterman added that golf courses will be limited for high school teams and few pools are open or prepared to host more than two teams on a pool deck for practices and meets.

“We’re basically still at ground zero, and we’re at July 20 right now,” Ochoa said. “We have yet to see a field or building since March.”

High school sports have been in a holding pattern since March when the spring season was cut short because of COVID-19 lockdowns.

“It’s incomprehensible to look at July 27th for official practice,” Ochoa said. “We are stuck in same rut we are in right now. The situation has not improved in the last month.

“We don’t even have a clue what our brick and mortar option of opening schools is,” Ochoa said. “Not until we are in Phase 2 will we do anything. It is students first, athletes second. This is an unknown we have never dealt with.”

Added Schusterman, “There are a lot of challenges. We need to look at a plan to get all three seasons in and look at what’s best for the entire state and base our decision on what is best for the majority.”

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

FHSAA Sets Emergency Board Meeting To Discuss Fall High School Sports Plan


By Sharon Robb

PEMBROKE PINES, July 14, 2020—The fate of the 2020 high school swimming season and other fall sports seasons may be determined next week.

The Florida High School Activities Association has scheduled an emergency board meeting for Monday, July 20th to talk about plans for high school fall sports as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

The Board of Directors has the power to put in motion policy changes. The board was not originally scheduled to meet until Sept. 27th.

Fall season practices are set to open Monday, July 27th, throughout the state.

The meeting, which will be held on the Zoom platform and is not open to the public, may change or condense plans for the season in some or all fall sports, including swimming, diving, football, volleyball, bowling, cross country and golf. There are two members from Miami-Dade on the Board (Carlos Ochoa of Hialeah Gardens and Mark Schusterman of Riviera Prep) and none from Broward or Palm Beach.

Leon County Schools, one of the state’s major school districts in the Tallahassee area, cancelled all athletic programs and practices for the remainder of summer.

The FHSAA’s fall sports task force has met three times during the past month discussing all aspects of high school sports including officials safety to having alternative postseason schedules and contingency plans in case of positive tests among high school sports.

Several states have already revised plans for the fall including Arizona, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington and West Virginia with delayed starts. New Mexico has moved its football and soccer seasons to the spring.

Two weeks ago, the FHSAA task force voted to explore a preliminary plan that would push back the start to at least Aug. 10 and would allow schools to begin on various dates, allowing different fall sports to start at different times.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com

Swimming Is Low Risk For COVID-19 According To National High School Federation


By Sharon Robb

GAINESVILLE, June 1, 2020—The National Federation of State High Schools Association released its recommendations to help plan the return of high school sports activities.

The NFHS oversees 51 state associations including the Florida High School Athletic Association.

The recommendations, developed by the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, offered a look at what high school sports might look like in Florida, including Broward and Miami-Dade.

After schools were closed in mid-March, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the postponement and cancellation of FHSAA spring sports, championships and spring football practices.

In a 15-page report, the NFHS outlined a three-phase process to re-starting high school sports. It includes the use of masks, great attention to sanitary practices and social distancing of 6-feet between individuals.

Decisions made by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, state and local health departments will also a play a huge role in how the state’s 67 school districts decide what plans will be utilized. The NFHS recommendations may be followed around the state. FHSAA executive director George Tomyn called the report is “a great guidance.”

The recommendations were discussed during a national webinar last Monday and released to the public on Tuesday. The FHSAA Board of Directors are scheduled to meet June 8-9.

The Phase 1 advice for summer and fall workouts includes doing no weightlifting that requires a spotter, and prohibiting player contact in football. Volleyball players can not touch the ball hit by another player until after it is sanitized. Baseball and softball players can not warm up by tossing a ball back and forth. Wrestlers would have to drill their moves without touching a teammate.

The NFHS said teams should be divided into pods of five to 10 players and those groups should stay together each day during workouts to limit the exposure if one student is infected.

It also asks states to consider adjusting game schedules to decrease travel and reduce time spent in school buses or vans.

Football, one of the fall season’s most popular and big revenue sports, is one of the few sports designated as “high risk.”

High risk sports are those “that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.”

In addition to football, wrestling, boys lacrosse, and girls competitive cheerleading are also included in that category.

Moderate risk sports include basketball, volleyball, baseball, softball, soccer, gymnastics, bowling, tennis, swimming relays, pole vault, high jump, long jump, girls lacrosse, and 7-on-7 football.

Low risks sports, with natural social distancing and lack of shared equipment, include individual swimming, individual running events, throwing events (such as shot-put and discus), golf, weightlifting, sideline cheerleading (with no contact stunts) and cross country.

The current FHSAA calendar calls for three weeks of preseason football, starting July 27 with five days of non-contact drills. The other fall sports — girls volleyball, cross country, golf, bowling and swimming — are also scheduled to begin practice on that date, but nothing is etched in stone as of yet.

Baseball and softball in Iowa are expected to be the first sanctioned high school sports events to return to the field in the nation, mainly because Iowa holds the sports during the summer every year.

Guidelines for the restart of the sport will include temperature checks for every game, no dugout usage during practice and sanitizing equipment after every use.

Iowa could become the reopening blueprint for other state organizations across the country, as the COVID-19 numbers continue to trend downward and hope builds for the hope of a scholastic season in the fall.

States rely on the NFHS to develop rule books for sports and provide a platform for national conferences and conversations. However, by-laws and policies vary, including practice start dates, and are determined by individual associations.

Governor DeSantis has already made it clear there will be high school football in the fall in Florida. He is expected to announce a plan for the re-opening of schools for the 2020-21 fall semester as part of Phase 2 and Phase 3 of his three-step plan to move forward.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com
http://www.swim4soflo.com