—GHSA increases group size for high school team workouts

  • The GHSA has required that all summer workouts are voluntary and are for conditioning only with no balls or sports specific equipment.
    The GHSA has required that all summer workouts are voluntary and are for conditioning only with no balls or sports specific equipment.

A week after allowing high school sports activities to resume on a restricted basis for conditioning workouts, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) elected to increase the number of participants in each workout group from 20 to 25 at the start of this week.
The move comes after a meeting of the GHSA Sports Medicine Advisory Council on Thursday, June 11.
The GHSA originally limited the number of participants  of the workouts to 20, including coaches, per sport at any given time at its member schools’ facilities when it allowed limited sports activities to resume after a long hiatus due to concerns about COVID-19.
The change to 25 participants does come with some stipulations, however. First, the additional participants added to the groups of 20 shall be new additions only. Secondly, the current groups should be the same individuals, including coaches, for each session with the exception of the new participants. Lastly, all current recommendations and restrictions are still in place for the conditioning workouts.
When conditioning activities opened back up on June 8, the GHSA issued several recommendations and restrictions that its member schools had to adhere to. Those included that all summer workouts are voluntary, that school and school systems may be more restrictive than the GHSA but not less restrictive, that workouts are for conditioning only with no balls or sports specific equipment, that member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning, that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout, that particular signage be utilized on site of workouts, that groups be limited to 20 or less (including coaches) per sport at any given time, that there be no use of locker room or shower facilities, that weight equipment should be cleansed prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student, that hand sanitizer should be readily available and plentiful, that each student should have their own personal water bottle and that water fountains should not be used, that only side spots used in weight training with safety bars being preferred, that social distancing should be adhered to always and that masks or face coverings are recommended for the weight room, that at least 15 minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility, that no visitors are allowed at the conditioning sessions and, lastly, that groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure and that coaches and athletes may not change groups for the duration of the guidance.
“Recommendations and restrictions are fluid and subject to change,” read a statement released by Dr. Robin Hines, GHSA’s executive director. “Safety must be our top priority.”
The increase in the number of participants allowed in each group comes a month and a half after the state’s reopening plan was instituted by Governor Brian Kemp.
The lifting of more restrictions put into place by the GHSA are possible if the number of cases in Georgia continue to plateau, as data from the Georgia Department of Health (DPH) appear to indicate. However, that may change if the numbers spike.
As of Monday, June 15, the numbers of confirmed cases in the state had reached 58,414 according to the Georgia DPH. As reported in last week’s issue of The Nugget, confirmed cases in Lumpkin County were on a slight uptick and had surpassed triple digits at 103 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. As of Monday afternoon, that number had risen to 107 confirmed cases.
The GHSA is a voluntary organization composed of 463 public and private high schools, operating under a constitution and by-laws which outline the scope and purpose of the association. The GHSA is a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations.