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MHSAA sets guidelines for fall sports

The Mississippi High School Activities Association has approved a new series of COVID-19 related guidelines for fall sports.

One of the bigger questions that still needs to be answered is to what capacity will stadiums and gyms be open to attendees, but those new guidelines have yet to be addressed. Closer to the start of the season the MHSAA will post more information detailing how many fans will be allowed to attend games.

The guidelines said, “Attendance policy & quarantine procedure will be determined before team competition begins and at the appropriate time.”

However, it is known that any attendees to a fall sporting competition will not be allowed entry without a mask.

Schools will be expected to post signage encouraging social distancing, and all game day personnel will have to be screened prior to working the event.

Bands will be allowed to travel to away games at a school’s discretion, while the cheer and dance teams should be properly spaced along the sideline to ensure six feet of space between students.

The new guidelines also stated that officials should be allowed an entry and exit away from fans if possible, along with a dressing or meeting area that is disinfected prior to the officials’ arrival.

Transportation to and from competitions is being left up to the school by the MHSAA, although it is recommended to have assigned seating and wear face coverings when social distancing isn’t possible.The MHSAA will also allow students who are participating in virtual learning to take part in MHSAA athletics if they meet all other eligibility requirements.

However, if a district decides students taking virtual learning courses aren’t allowed to participate in athletics, then that is the district’s decision. Picayune School District made the decision to not allow students to participate in extra curricular activities if they do not attend physical classes.

The new guidelines also addressed the possibility of a school not being able to participate in an event.

“Whether a school campus is open or closed regardless of the instructional model {traditional, blended, virtual, remote learning}, in the event any contest is not played during the regular season the game will be forfeited game by the team whose school is not participating, and the other team will be awarded a ‘win’. In this case, no fines or forfeitures will be assessed.”

The new guidelines are available at www.misshsaa.com, and are subject to change over time as the situation regarding COVID-19 changes.