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Athletic directors working to meet MHSAA guidelines

The resumption of athletics in Mississippi has come with a host of guidelines and restrictions, and local athletic directors are working to make sure their student athletes are safe as they once again take the field.

When sports first shut down, along with schools, coaches weren’t allowed to have contact with players.

However, over time restrictions have been relaxed, and what started as coaches having virtual meetings with players and sending them workout routines, has now transitioned once again to in-person practices.

“Our coaches, I believe, had been doing a good job when allowed to communicate with their kids. They had Zoom meetings with them and used other tools (to stay in touch),” Picayune School District’s Athletic Director, Kristi Mitchell, said.

Everything from informational signs to sanitation and cleaning equipment have all been ordered and set up around the facilities to ensure players can go about their workouts in a safe manner.

“It’s just the simple fact of having enough hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies. All that stuff is all on back order so it’s hard to find it and get it to facilities. We’re just hustling trying to get all that together,” Poplarville School District’s Athletic Director, Jay Beech, said.

Beech said the majority of guidelines and restrictions were to be expected so most of them didn’t come as a surprise.

Beech was satisfied with the MHSAA’s decisions and hopes that the return to athletics will go smoothly.

“I think we’re about where we need to be. They did a good job with it and used as much common sense as they could with safety as the main goal,” Beech said.

Updates from the MHSAA come on a daily basis to both Mitchell and Beech regarding the implementation of new guidelines or retraction of others. The constant communication means both athletic directors will have to alert their district’s respective coaches of any alterations so they can stay within the guidelines.

“They’re definitely subject to change. Any time we hear new information that comes out, good or bad, we have to expect to change,” Beech said.

It’s been a stressful period as the time crunch of athletics restarting closed in, but nonetheless the local ADs have been at work behind the scenes to get everything prepared.

Now that teams are back on the fields a sense of normalcy can begin to return as the athletes are able to once again go through the routines they were used to prior to the pandemic.

“Now is when the fun begins. I’ve been busy making sure coaches have guidelines and making sure facilities are ready to go and I’m excited they gave us an opportunity to begin,” Mitchell said.