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NSAA Guidelines released for 2020 fall season of high school sporting events
Staff
Monday, August 17, 2020

The Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) has released the 2020 NSAA Fall Season Guidelines effective as of August 4, 2020. Each school has the authority to determine if it will participate in the 2020 Fall Season. During the season it will be the responsibility of the host school to provide administrative oversight in compliance with established COVID-19 guidelines in accordance with their local health departments and facilities. Prior to any contest, the host school administration will be required to notify the visiting school administration of their established protocols. The visiting team and spectators will be expected to adhere to all protocols established by the host school.

The host school should make every effort to mitigate risk and provide adequate opportunities for physical distancing procedures for the opposing team, officials, and all spectators.

This may include, but is not limited to restricting attendance and seating areas, separating points of entry for home and visitor teams and spectators, no concession stands or separate/multiple concession stands for home and visitor spectators, separate or multiple restrooms for home and visitor spectators, adequate locker room space and outdoor space for the opposing team, adequate locker room space and outdoor space for the officials, encouraging or requiring spectators to wear face coverings, and implementing diligent and effective cleaning and disinfecting of frequently touched objects and surfaces.

If a school has a player test positive for COVID-19, they will contact their County Health Department regarding a course of action. It is recommended that players, coaches, and spectators have their temperatures checked at home or at the school prior to participating in or attending practices and games. Any individual with a temperature of 100.4 or above should not participate in or attend practices or games.

During practice, coaches should make accommodations for physical distancing whenever possible. Provide adequate spacing when participating in stretching, instructional time, and drills. Conduct workouts in small groups whenever possible.

During competition, the sideline/bench/team areas should be restricted to essential personnel only. This includes players, coaches, team trainers, team managers, game officials, statisticians, and media.

Coaches, officials, and players should be cognizant of physical distancing guidelines when interacting during the game.

Schools are encouraged to play their regularly scheduled competitions unless a COVID-19 issue prevents them from playing. Member schools shall be solely responsible for determining whether a scheduled game, match, contest, or other activity is cancelled or postponed due to a COVID-19 related issue in consultation with their local health departments. Members schools shall notify the NSAA of any cancellation or postponement.

Football COVID-19 Modifications

Practice may begin August 10 with first contests beginning on August 27. Schools with week zero games may begin practice on August 5 and games will be played on August 21. Schools will notify the NSAA of any game cancellations within twenty-four hours of the decision. Schools are solely responsible for determining whether a scheduled game is cancelled due to a COVID-19 related issue in consultation with their local health departments. Regularly scheduled games cancelled due to COVID-19 related issues will be counted as a “No Contest” and forfeits will not be issued, and wildcard points will not be awarded. Schools have the authority to schedule a replacement game if another school is available. Only the results of regularly scheduled games scheduled prior to the start of the season will be used to calculate wildcard points.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) released their game protocols. Schools are encouraged to use five-man officiating crews whenever possible at regularly scheduled varsity games. If a five-man crew is not available, the game may be played with any number of officials upon mutual agreement of the opposing coaches. All regularly scheduled varsity games must use NSAA registered officials. If a replacement game is scheduled, any number of officials may be used upon mutual agreement of the opposing coaches. The use of NSAA registered officials is recommended. The use of non-registered officials is permitted. Players, coaches, officials, and all game administration should sanitize their hands before, during, and after the game. Face coverings are permissible for officials, coaches, players, staff, and game administration. The team box may be extended to the 10-yard line (Players only) and players should maintain physical distancing on the sideline whenever possible. Players should not share towels, water bottles, or other equipment. The ball should be cleaned and sanitized periodically throughout the contest. Plastic shields covering the entire face are prohibited. “Splash Guards” that are integrated into the face mask, attached to the helmet and are completely clear are permitted. The authorized conference for the charged time-out should take place between the nine-yard marks and not at the sideline for physical distancing purposes. More than one coach is allowed in the conference and technology can be used. Electronic whistles are permitted, but not mandatory. The coin toss is limited to the referee, umpire, and one designee from each team and are to move to an area to maintain physical distance. Everyone is to maintain physical distance while performing all pregame duties and when communicating with crew members, coaches, players, game administration, chain crew, clock operators, and ball holders. There will be no hand shaking.

Volleyball COVID-19 Modifications

Matches canceled due to COVID-19 will be considered a “no contest” and wild card points will not be awarded for “no contest” matches and forfeits will not be issued for “no contest” matches. Replacement matches that were not originally scheduled may be scheduled at any time. Wild card points will not be awarded, and contest limits/competition points may not be exceeded.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) released their match protocols. Face coverings are permissible for athletes, coaches, officials, game administration, and spectators. Officials are permitted to use electronic whistles. The score table is limited to essential personnel only; this includes the scorekeeper, clock operator, libero tracker, and announcer. Everyone is to practice social distancing. Not switching team benches/courts between sets is permissible.

Cross Country COVID-19 Rules and Modifications and Considerations

Teams may be called to the start line five minutes prior to start to minimize duration in close proximity. Cross country meets could also consider using staggered, wave, or interval starts when necessary. If possible, provide an empty starting box of six feet between each team.

Consider using finish corrals and FAT timing for larger meets as it is easier to distance at finish. Chip timing at championship meets eliminates any need for contact at the finish. With no FAT timing system consider alternative means of finish place and time to address congestion at finish line. The finish area should be designed structurally and with staff to keep finishers moving in a direction directly back to the team camps immediately. The area beyond the finish should be large enough to allow athletes to keep moving. Consider using image-based equipment at finish to assist with picking place to avoid congestion.

Establish cross country specific social distancing meet protocols including the elimination of handshakes before and after the meet. It is recommended to not have award ceremonies and consider widening the course to at least six feet at its narrowest point.

Girls Golf COVID-19 Rules Modifications and Considerations

Much of the facility information will come from the golf course, including the driving range regulations. Consider having a rotation of use to limit number on the range at one time and putting green. If bad weather occurs, it is recommended that all should return to their vehicles rather than the clubhouse. It is recommended to not have award ceremonies.

Communicate the details of the event prior to the day of the event. This way schools can plan their arrival and competition with minimal gatherings to discuss the event details.

On the practice range, limitations to the number of players that may be on the range will be site specific based on the size of the range and the number of stations available using six-foot social distancing. Players only allowed on the practice range and players can be limited to only one bag of balls (approximately 50 balls) to hit on the range.

On the putting and chipping greens, limitations to the number of players that may be on the practice putting green and/or chipping green will be site specific based on the size of the greens. Players only allowed on or around the greens. Players should be quick and efficient with their practice to ensure all players get time on the greens.

Players should arrive at their assigned tee no more than five minutes before their assigned starting time.

Digital scoring may be used when available and scorecards should be distributed to each player. Scorecards will not be exchanged or require signatures. Upon completion of the round players will enter the designated scoring area to review and verify their scores verbally with the scoring official.

Limited number of bunker rakes could be available on the golf course. Ball will be played as it lies in the bunker. If a player feels their ball is in an abnormal ground condition they can ask for relief from a member of the committee. If granted, the relief procedure will be followed as stated in the Rules of Golf.

Attending and removal of flagsticks is permitted if allowed by the facility. It is recommended that the player that removed the flagstick be the one to replace it.

A scorecard will be deemed returned when the player has verbally verified their hole-by-hole scores with their marker and the scoring official and left the designated scoring area.

Scoring monitors will not be used at district and state championships.