NMAA to allow workouts June 15; Las Cruces looks to begin June 22

High School Sports

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – The New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) has voted to allow summer workouts to begin with restrictions on June 15. The NMAA Board of Directors, passed by a vote of 8-4 on Thursday, is taking the first step in their plan to return to play amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic.

On Friday, Las Cruces Public Schools superintendent Karen Trujillo told KTSM that Las Cruces schools will not start workouts until June 22 at the earliest. That is the district’s target date, but with so many details to work out, it could be later.

In New Mexico, phase one of a three-step plan goes into effect on June 15. In phase one, outdoor workouts can only be conducted in groups of five, indoors in groups of three and weight room facilities are off limits.

The district told KTSM that coaches will be tested for COVID-19 the week of June 8 and the week of June 15 will be used to train coaches, athletes and parents on what to expect. For Las Cruces Public Schools, the delayed start date is purely about safety.

“We really felt that it was too soon and too much planning needed to take place in order to ensure safety and get everyone ready for phase 1,” said Trujillo. “It’s just extremely restrictive and we know our coaches will be anxious to go full force and in phase 1 they’re not allowed to.”

If a school/school district opts to allow for summer activities to take place, guidelines produced by the NMAA must be followed. The guidelines are based on the public health orders set by the Governor of New Mexico.

NMAA Guidance for ‘Return to Play’

ObjectiveThis document is intended to provide guidance for schools to consider return to activity protocols in accordance with state restrictions. It allows for a coordinated reopening following the initial stay at home orders and may also be used if conditions dictate the need for increased restrictions in the future.
Foundational StatementsThe NMAA believes it is essential to the physical and mental well-being of students to return to physical activity and athletic competition.   The NMAA recognizes that all New Mexico students may be unable to return to – and sustain – athletic activity at the same time across the state. There will also likely be variation in what sports and activities are allowed over the next 9 to 12 months.   While recognizing that reopening may lead to inequities, the NMAA advocates for returning students to school-based athletics and activities to operate in any and all situations where it can be done safely.   As is stated within the NMAA Constitution, the most important single consideration in the regulation of any school activity must be the welfare and healthy development of students. During this time of uncertainty, school personnel are encouraged to collaborate with local public health officials to determine what is best for each individual community. IF a school/school district decides to move forward with summer activities, the following guidelines must be followed.   The NMAA will continue to provide updated guidance to member schools based on information from the National Federation of State High School Associations, Centers for Disease Control, and State Government Officials.
Points of EmphasisExpanding knowledge of COVID-19 transmission could all result in significant changes to this guidance. The NMAA will disseminate more information as it becomes available.   Administrators and coaches must emphasize the need for all coaches and participants who have signs or symptoms of illness to stay home when ill to decrease risk of viral transmission. “Vulnerable individuals” are defined by CDC as people age 65 years and older and others with serious underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, asthma, and those whose immune systems are compromised such as by chemotherapy for cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy. These individuals may include not only coaches and other school personnel, but students as well.   Current pre-season conditioning and acclimatization models assume that athletes have deconditioned during the stay at home orders. The current pandemic may result in students being deconditioned for several months. The intensity and duration of training should be moderated upon return.   With the uncertainty of recurrent outbreaks this coming fall, member schools must be prepared for periodic school closures and the possibility of some teams having to isolate for two or more weeks while in-season.   Phases are in accordance with guidelines published by the State of New Mexico and are subject to change.
Areas to AddressPrior to directing or participating in summer workouts, staff members, including coaches, must receive a COVD-19 test.   Students/Staff who test positive for COVID-19 will be contacted and provided instructions by the Department of Health. Follow DOH instructions.   The National Athletic Equipment Reconditioners Association (NAERA) has advised the NFHS that significant equipment reconditioning capacity is currently operational. If schools have not sent out equipment for reconditioning, they should do so immediately. If schools currently have equipment being reconditioned, a school official should contact the reconditioning company to make specific delivery arrangements if their school is currently closed.

NMAA Guidelines for ‘Return to Play’ – Phase 1

Phase OnePhase TwoPhase Three
General Activity DescriptionIndividual Skill Development and Workouts; No Contact with Others; No Sharing of Equipment; No Games or Scrimmages
Facilities CleaningAdequate cleaning schedules should be created and implemented for all athletic facilities. Prior to an individual or groups of individuals entering a facility, hard surfaces within that facility should be wiped down and sanitized (chairs, furniture in meeting rooms, bathrooms, athletic training room tables, etc.). Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap or hand sanitizer before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts. Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and available to individuals as they transfer from place to place. Appropriate clothing/shoes should be worn at all times to minimize sweat from transmitting onto equipment/surfaces. Any equipment such as benches, athletic pads, etc. having holes with exposed foam should be covered. Students must be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning to home.
Entrance/Exit StrategiesConsider strategies to prevent groups from gathering at entrances/exits to facilities to limit crossover and contact, including staggering starting/ending times.
Limitations on Gatherings(Updated in Accordance with the Governor’s Orders)No gathering of more than 6 people at a time, inside or outside (5:1 student to coach ratio). Workouts should be conducted in “pods” of students with the same 5 students always working out together with the same coach to limit overall exposures. The number of indoor facility “pods” may not exceed 3 at one time. Outdoor facility “pods” may not exceed 5 at one time. If safe social distancing cannot occur within your facility, pod number and/or size should be reduced. There must be a minimum distance of 6 feet between each individual at all times. If this is not possible indoors, then the maximum number of individuals in the room must be decreased to obtain a minimum distance of 6 feet between each individual.
Pre-Workout ScreeningAll coaches and students should be screened daily for signs / symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout, including a temperature check. Anyone with a temperature of greater than 100.3 degrees should not participate and be sent home (medical grade, non-contact infrared thermometers are recommended). Responses to screening questions for each person should be recorded and stored (see Sample Monitoring Form). Any person with positive symptoms reported, or a temperature greater than 100.3, should not be allowed to participate, should self-isolate, and contact their primary care provider or other health-care professional to receive medical clearance before returning to workouts. Individuals having flown out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. It is recommended that individuals self-quarantine for 14 days if they cross state borders by means other than air travel. Vulnerable individuals should not supervise or participate in any workouts during Phase 1.
Multi-Layer Face CoveringsState guidelines for cloth face coverings should be strictly followed. Students should wear face coverings upon arrival and at departure, but are not required to wear them during exercise. Cloth face coverings should be considered acceptable. There is no need to require or recommend “medical grade” masks for physical activity. Plastic shields covering the entire face will not be allowed during participation due to the risk of unintended injury to the person wearing the shield or others. Coaches and screeners should wear cloth face coverings at all times. (Artificial noisemakers such as an air horn or a timer system with an alarm can be used to signal in place of a traditional whistle.)
Hygiene PracticesWash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces. Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of your elbow. Avoid touching your face. Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible. Strongly consider using face coverings while in public, and particularly when using mass transit
Hydration/FoodAll students must bring their own water bottle. Water bottles must not be shared. Food should not be shared. Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains, etc.) should not be utilized.
TravelIndividuals having flown out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. It is recommended that individuals self-quarantine for 14 days if they cross state borders by means other than air travel. Students cannot participate in competition or camps (in-state or out) under the direction of a member-school coach.
Locker Rooms and
Athletic Training Areas
Locker rooms should not be utilized during Phase 1. Students should report in appropriate attire and immediately return home to shower after participation. No students allowed in training
area unless AT is present.
Weight RoomsWeight rooms should not be utilized during Phase 1. Resistance training should be emphasized as body weight and use of resistance bands.  Weight equipment should be wiped down thoroughly before and after an individual’s use of equipment. Resistance training should be emphasized as body weight, weight machines, and free weights that do not require a spotter. Free weight exercises that require a spotter cannot be conducted while honoring physical distancing norms. Safety measures in all forms must be strictly enforced in the weight room. Weight rooms should follow physical distancing guidelines.
Physical Activity and
Athletic Equipment
No scrimmages, games or competition. There should be no shared athletic equipment (towels, clothing, shoes, or sports specific equipment) between students. Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing). Individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout. All athletic equipment, including balls, should be cleaned after each individual use and prior to the next workout. Individual drills requiring the use of athletic equipment are permissible, but the equipment should be cleaned prior to use by the next individual.
Lower Infection
Risk Activities
Activities that can be done with physical distancing or individually with no sharing of equipment or the ability to clean the equipment between use by competitors. NMAA Activities: cross country, track and field*, swimming*, golf, tennis, sideline cheerNotes: In track and field, any field event with an implement needs to be cleaned after each use and masks to be worn by participants.
Cross CountryRunners should maintain at least 6 feet of distancing between individuals, no grouping.
Track & FieldRunners should maintain at least 6 feet of distancing between individuals, no grouping, think about finish line area. No sharing of implements / equipment.
SwimmingSwimming pools are closed statewide.
GolfMaintain appropriate physical distancing 6 feet apart.
TennisConditioning, no sharing of balls, each player may use own can of balls to serve and uses racket to pass other balls (singles only), ball machine use by individuals only. Players may do individual drills, wall volleys and serves. Wipe down rackets and balls after.
Moderate Infection
Risk Activities
Activities that involve close, sustained contact, but with protective equipment in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants OR intermittent close contact OR group sports OR sports that use equipment that can’t be cleaned between participants.
NMAA Activities: volleyball*, soccer, baseball*, softball*, basketballNotes: *Could potentially be considered “Lower Infection Risk” with appropriate cleaning of equipment and use of masks by participants.
VolleyballConditioning, individual ball handling drills, each player has own ball. A player should not use a single ball that others touch or hit in any manner.
SoccerConditioning, individual ball skill drills, each player has own ball, feet only (no heading/use of hands), no contact.
BaseballConditioning and tee work. Players should not share gloves or bats or throw a single ball that will be tossed among the team. A single player may hit in cages, throw batting practice (with netting as backstop, no catcher). Prior to another athlete using the same balls, they should be collected and cleaned individually.
SoftballConditioning and tee work. Players should not share gloves or bats or throw a single ball that will be tossed among the team. A single player may hit in cages, throw batting practice (with netting as backstop, no catcher). Prior to another athlete using the same balls, they should be collected and cleaned individually.
BasketballConditioning, individual ball skill drills, no contact or sharing of balls. A player may shoot with a ball(s), but a team should not practice/pass a single ball among the team where multiple players touch the same ball.
Higher Infection Risk ActivitiesActivities that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers, and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants. NMAA Activities: football, wrestling, competitive cheerleading, dance/drill, choir, band, orchestra, solo music
FootballConditioning and individual drills (backpedal, etc.). A player should not participate in drills with a single ball that will be handed off or passed to other teammates. Contact with other players is not allowed, and there should be no sharing of tackling dummies / donuts / sleds. Protective equipment prohibited.
WrestlingConditioning, mirror drills with spacing, no contact. Wrestlers may skill and drill without touching a teammate (as long as physical distancing is adhered to).
CheerleadingConditioning and individual technique/choreography work.Students may not practice/perform partner stunts or building. Chants, jumps, dance, tumbling without contact are permissible as long as physical distancing is adhered to.
Dance/DrillConditioning and individual technique/choreography work.Students may not practice/perform partner stunts or building. Chants, jumps, dances, tumbling without contact are permissible as long as physical distancing is adhered to.
MusicThe extent of the spread of respiratory droplets during singing and the playing of wind instruments is currently under investigation. We recommend restricting these activities in schools until further guidance is available.

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