Return to Athletics Update - February 26, 2021
We are more than excited that high school sports have been able to continue during this school year. Since allowing to resume athletics late last fall, our high school athletes have competed in volleyball, cross country, basketball, swimming, men's soccer and lacrosse. Under the NCHSAA’s schedule, we are set to have our first varsity football games on Friday evening.
Our high schools have been working closely with the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) and local authorities to make sure athletic-related events are as safe as possible for participants and spectators alike.
With the Governor’s recent changes to capacity at indoor and outdoor athletic events, we are looking forward to welcoming more spectators to support our teams!
While more fans will be allowed, capacity at our athletic facilities will be limited to a maximum of 30% and all schools will still be required to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, including social distancing.
As we get ready to take this next step, here are some things to know if you are coming out to support one of our athletic teams:
- Plan on arriving early for a COVID-19 screening and to have your online ticket verified.
- Everyone attending the event will be expected to wear a face covering.
- Non-family groups will be asked to maintain appropriate social distancing from others.
- If offered, concession sales will be for pre-packaged foods only.
- Tickets for our athletic events will be sold online through School Cash Online.
- Unless going to the restroom or purchasing concessions, spectators will need to stay seated in the bleachers during the event.
Thank you for doing all you can to help keep each other safe! We appreciate everyone wearing a face covering and maintaining social distance. As the number of COVID-19 cases decreases throughout our community, we look forward to welcoming even more of you back. Thank you for your support and know that OCS is committed to doing everything we can to make our facilities safe and welcoming for our student-athletes, coaches, staff, and our school family.
OCS Athletics Plan Information and Updates
OCS Weight Room and Locker Room Administrative Guidelines - 2020-2021 (effective September 7, 2020)
OCS Weight Room Administrative Guidelines (under NCHSAA Phase 2)
- Gatherings in weight rooms are limited to no more than 10 persons. The gathering numbers, as mentioned above, include teachers, coaches, students, trainers, etc.
- All persons (staff or student) participating in the weight room workout will go through the normal Covid screening procedures before entry.
- Hand sanitizer will be used by each participant before & after performing each lift.
- Within each group of 10 individuals in the weight room, participants will be placed in pods of not more than 3 individuals that will remain together through each weight room session.
- All persons (staff or student) participating in the weight room workout will be wearing an acceptable face covering.
- There shall be a minimum of 10 feet social distancing between pods (groupings of 3). Within pods, there shall be a minimum of 6 feet social distancing between each individual.
- All equipment shall be disinfected between each student’s use within each pod. (Weights, bars, benches, etc.)
- All equipment should be disinfected before and after use by another pod. (Weights, bars, benches, etc.)
- There should be no partner assisted lifts. If spotter help is needed in emergencies, the two non-lifting pod members should approach the bar from each side.
- Appropriate clothing/shoes must always be worn to minimize sweat from transmitting onto equipment/surfaces. Shirts are mandatory and will always be worn in the weight room.
- Staff or custodians should have roles delineated for cleaning frequently touched surfaces in the weight room. Entry and exit doors, floors, and anything frequently touched specific to each school’s individual weight room should be cleaned frequently.
- All weight room workouts must be supervised by a qualified staff member or coach.
- All weight room workouts MUST be approved by Principal or Athletic Director and attendance of all participants documented for each workout.
OCS Locker Room Administrative Guidelines
- Gatherings in locker rooms are limited to no more than 10 persons at one time. The gathering numbers, as mentioned above, include all individuals (teachers, students, coaches, trainers, managers, etc.).
- For afterschool use- All athletes and staff must go through the normal screening procedures before being allowed access to any locker room or weight room.
- Social distancing of at least 6 feet should be maintained in all locker rooms.
- Face coverings shall be worn by all students and staff while in locker rooms.
- Locker rooms shall be verified as sanitized before allowing access and use by athletes before after school workouts.
- Locker rooms shall be cleaned after each day’s use or before the next scheduled use of the locker room.
- Staff or custodians should have roles delineated for cleaning frequently touched surfaces in each locker room. Entry and exit doors, floors, and anything frequently touched specific to each school’s individual locker rooms should be cleaned frequently.
- Students and athletes should have limited access to locker rooms. Dressing for classes & workouts (if needed) or bathroom access should be only reasons for locker room access.
- Locker rooms will remain closed and locked except under supervised use during PE classes or after school athletic activities.
OCS Athletic Skill Development Guidelines - 2020-2021 (updated August 14, 2020)
The following guidelines have been implemented after consultation with Dr. Collins and Central Office Staff. They will be in place until at least the Governor moves the state to Phase 3, and possibly beyond that point:
- In an effort to reduce contact between different Cohorts, students will only be allowed to participate in after school activities (including Athletic Skill Development) on days they and their Cohort attend school for face-to-face instruction (ie. Cohort A students only on Mon & Tue, Cohort B students only on Thu & Fri).
- No after school activities (including Athletic Skill Development) will occur on Wednesdays or Saturdays.
- OCS will continue to follow ALL NCHSAA mandated Phase 2 protocols for Skill Development activities.
- Coaches who have already conducted summer workouts will reconfigure their “pods” to ensure that student-athletes are grouped together in “pods” by their respective cohorts. Coaches who begin Skill Development for the first time will need to be brought up to speed on ALL NCHSAA mandated Phase 2 protocols to ensure they conduct workouts with the highest regard for student health & safety. They will organize student-athletes into “pods” based on each student’s Cohort.
- Since students will now be grouped into new “pods”, we are going to extend the "Dead Period" (during this time no athletic activities are permitted) one additional week (through August 29). This will allow for at least 14 days to have passed since the last time students were gathered in their original “pods,” ensuring that if a student-athlete tests positive after August 29, contact tracing will not impact his/her original “pod.”
- Until further notice, OCS will continue to make locker rooms, weight rooms, wrestling rooms and training rooms off limits for students, both during the instructional day as well as after school for Skill Development sessions.
- Cheerleading tryouts will not be held until October 19 (at the earliest). For this year, the cheerleading season will last until the NCHSAA Cheerleading Invitational which is scheduled for May 1.
- Students attending the Onslow Virtual School (OVS) will be allowed to participate in athletics at their districted high school (the school they would normally attend for in-person instruction). OVS students will need to present current proof of address in order to verify their districted high school. Once the address has been verified and students assigned to the correct school for athletic participation, they will then be assigned to a Skill Development “pod” at that school. OVS students will also only be allowed to participate in Skill Development activities two days per week.
- Until OCS transitions to in-person instruction for all students every day, there will be no middle school sports.
Initial Return-to-Athletics Plan (effective July 20, 2020)
OCS believes athletic programs provide our student-athletes an environment which encourages the attainment of both physical skills and strong character development. We feel strongly that physical activity and athletic competition supports our students’ physical, emotional, and mental well-being. As we look at reopening athletics, the health and safety of our student-athletes and coaching staff is the school system’s highest priority. To ensure we are providing a safe and healthy environment for practices and competitions, OCS will be following the three-phase guidance provided by the NCHSAA and will use that as our framework for any athletic decision making.
The NCHSAA announced schools across the state may begin summer workouts when the current dead period is lifted June 15. To allow schools time to gather appropriate PPE, develop safety plans and solidify their processes and procedures, OCS will not be starting any summer workouts until at least Monday, June 22. These are voluntary sessions for teams and athletes, and individual schools will decide if they wish to begin on June 22 or wait until July 6.
Since our student-athletes have been out of school since mid-March, there may be an increased need for pre-season-type conditioning to prepare for a return to regular practice and competition. To address this concern, during Phase One of summer workouts, activities will be limited to conditioning, aerobic exercise, and strength training (running, jumping, sprinting, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.). These workout sessions will be limited to no more than 90 minutes, and student-athletes may participate in only one session per day.
Prior to participating in any summer workouts, student-athletes will need a completed OCS Athletic Participation Form, OCS Athletic Waiver and Release of Liability, NCHSAA Initial Screening Questions for Students to Participate in Athletic Activity During COVID-19 and provide an updated OCS 2020-21 Medical History Questionnaire. These forms have been posted below.
The following guidelines will apply to ALL teams, coaches, and OCS campuses throughout Phase One of summer workouts:
- All participants must be screened by trained personnel each day (temperature check and screening questions) for COVID-19 symptoms PRIOR to participation.
- No indoor workouts or activities – all activities MUST be conducted outside.
- Social distancing of at least 6 feet must be observed at all times.
- Groups will be limited to no more than 20 in any one athletic venue (stadium, court, practice field, etc.).
- No sport-specific equipment used, nor sport-specific training (no balls, bats, gloves, sticks and no throwing, passing, shooting, kicking, etc.).
- No body-to-body or person-to-person contact activities allowed.
- No sharing of towels or personal equipment by players or coaches.
- Each player and coach must have their own water bottle (no use of water troughs, water buffalos, nor mass hydration devices/stations).
- Locker rooms will not be open for use, so student-athletes will be expected to come prepared for workouts and to leave campus as soon as possible following the conclusion of a session.
Our schools will be focusing on keeping our facilities clean, sharing good hygiene and hand-washing practices, and promoting social distancing. Should a student-athlete or coach test positive for COVID-19, all members of that grouping and those who have had contact with the individual should stay at home for 14 days, unless they have a negative COVID-19 test. The school will notify the Onslow County Health Department, and they will follow up with any required contact tracing. To resume workouts, a student-athlete or coach, must meet each of the following criteria:
- No fever for 72 hours without fever reducing medications since recovery.
- Resolution of any respiratory symptoms.
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
- A note of clearance from a licensed medical provider.
“OCS is committed to the health and well-being of our student-athletes and coaching staff. Even though OCS will begin allowing summer athletic workouts on June 22, we know not every coach, or student-athlete, will be ready to start at that time. Regardless of when they begin, summer workouts are completely voluntary, and there will be no penalty for athletes who cannot, or do not feel comfortable attending. A return to athletic practices and competitions signals a return to what we know as normal. Our community is ready to see our teams get back on the fields and courts. We appreciate their support and want everyone to understand our schools are working to make sure we are providing our student-athletes and coaching staff with the safest and healthiest environment for these summer workouts.” - OCS Coordinator of Athletics Greg Grantham
Required Athletic Participation Forms
Prior to any athletic participation, the forms below must be filled out completely and signed by both the parent and the student athlete.