For the first time since mid-March, athletes were back at it.
Monday marked the lifting of restrictions on high school athletic practices in Iowa, meaning students all over the state met on baseball and softball fields and broke out the bats and gloves for the first time.
Pictures and comments flooded social media as the athletes got back to work and back to a sense of normalcy. Competitions begin on June 15, with many schools done with their revised schedules for the summer seasons.
Not all practices went as planned. After deadly riots in the Quad Cities on Sunday night, many in Clinton took precautions and postponed events. That included Clinton High School baseball tryouts, which are tentatively moved to Tuesday afternoon.
Here are the guidelines for summer sports from the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union (IGHSAU):
The guidelines states that it is ultimately the decision of each individual school as to whether sports will be resumed this summer. Schools must decide by June 8 with written correspondence to the state entities.
Not only is it their decision to start, but school districts have the right to cancel the season at any time if coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in respective counties becomes a concern. The county and state departments of health can also cancel the season.
If one school wants to play but another does not, they’re encouraged to rule to outcome a “No Contest”.
Players are asked to wash their hands before and after participating in workouts or games, along with taking their temperatures at home to ensure safety. Sanitizing of equipment is encouraged after each game or practice, and sharing equipment is discouraged when possible.
The nine page documents also includes social distancing guidelines. Dugouts are not permitted during practice – the suggestion is that players line up against the fence at least by the recommended 6-feet apart. They are able to be used during contests, but players are encouraged to stay as far away as possible. Only essential personnel – players, coaches, trainers – are allowed in those dugouts.
There are no limitations at this time as to limiting rosters or people in the dugout during games.
Weight rooms are still prohibited by the state. Weight equipment can be moved outside, and teams can use gymnasiums as well.
In game procedures are encouraged to modify to stay safe. That includes limiting mound visits, keeping a safe distance with umpires during interactions, and skipping the handshake line after the game.
No one is required to wear a mask, although it is not prohibited. The state is not limiting colors or masks if players and coaches choose to wear them.
Fans are allowed, encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and to maintain appropriate social distancing. Fans are responsible for their own health safety.
Parents are to remain in their vehicles while dropping athletes off to practice.
Softball regionals begin on July 13 while state takes place July 27-July 31. Baseball postseason begins on July 9 and state is July 24 – Aug. 1. Athletic directors and conferences will determine their schedule with the beginning date of June 15th.
Schools have some choice when in comes to transportation. Strict adherence to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines would only allow 13 students per bus, which isn’t feasible. Instead, they encourage as much social distancing on school buses as possible when en route to games, including the use of masks.
They also encourage that alternate transportation be available, such as rides with parents in separate vehicles.