MURFREESBORO — The TSSAA announced that the following regulations will be in place for all sports until further notice.
“These regulations do not guarantee safety, but they are meant to encourage safe practices that will maximize our ability to engage in sports competition during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the TSSAA stated.
“While much about COVID-19 and its spread remains unknown, our collective hope for continuing sports competition depends on the willingness of every member school to apply and enforce these regulations.”
Those regulations include:
1. Temperature checks are required for all coaches, players, and team personnel prior to every practice. Anyone whose temperature measures 100.4 or greater must be sent home immediately and may not return to participation until he/she provides documentation that they have tested negative for COVID-19 or obtained a medical evaluation by a physician verifying that COVID-19 is not the cause of his/her fever.
2. No coach, player, or team personnel may participate in practice or a contest without first completing appropriate COVID-19 screening. Persons should not participate while ill. If the answer is “YES” to any of the following questions, the coach, player, or team personnel may not participate until obtaining an evaluation by a medical provider verifying his/her fitness to safely do so:
- Have you had any of the following symptoms in the past 7 days?
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Shaking chills
- Chest pain, pressure, or tightness with exercise
- Fatigue or difficulty with exercise
- Racing heart rate
- Unusual dizziness
- Loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Unusual rash or painful discoloration of fingers or toes
- Do you have moderate to severe asthma, a heart condition, diabetes, chronic kidney or liver disease, or take medication or have a medical condition that weakens your immune system?
- Have you or a family/household member been diagnosed with or tested positive for COVID-19 infection or been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the past 14 days?
Each coach, player, or team personnel member will be asked these questions before the first practice in which he/she participates, and again on at least a weekly basis.
A printed list of the questions are to be given to each coach, player, or team personnel member with instructions that the questions are continuing throughout the season. If at any time the answer to any question becomes “YES,” the individual should promptly inform the head coach or team trainer and should obtain an evaluation by a medical provider before further participation.
3. No scrimmages, jamborees, 7-on-7 practice, or other types of practice with other teams is permitted. Team versus team competition may take place only at official contests. [Off-season practice in contact sports such as basketball, wrestling, etc., remains restricted to non-contact conditioning work consistent with the Governor’s order.]
4. At contests all coaches, players, team personnel, officials, administrators, and fans must have their temperatures checked before entering the facility. No one whose temperature measures 100.4 or greater may be admitted. Any coach, player, and team personnel refused admission under this regulation may not return to participation until providing documentation that he/she has tested negative for COVID-19 or obtained a medical evaluation by a physician verifying that COVID-19 is not the cause of his/her fever. For spectator screening areas, if a line forms or is anticipated to form, ensure 6 or more feet of separation between persons or household groups (e.g., ground markings and/or announcements).
5. At each contest the following symptom checklist shall be posted prominently at the spectator entrance(s) instructing that anyone who is experiencing any of the symptoms from No. 2 during the preceding 7 days must not be admitted.
6. At contests in localities where fan attendance is permitted, member schools are encouraged to limit fan attendance to a number that will allow adequate social distancing (e.g., 1/4 to 1/3 of typical seating capacity, depending on the characteristics of the particular venue) and should mark/designate bleachers or seats in order to promote social distancing among spectators. Member schools must facilitate compliance with any applicable state or local order limiting gathering sizes for participation in public events. In consultation with local health providers, member schools in areas experiencing high virus transmission should consider further limitations on attendance (e.g., family members only, or no spectators). Limit informal gathering in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.
7. Member schools will require that all fans wear facial coverings at all times while on-site (except children under age 2) and maintain social distancing (six feet, or the equivalent of two empty seats between themselves and other fans) from anyone other than those living in the same household.
8. The temperature check and questionnaire requirements of Items 1 and 2 above, as well as the social distancing requirement of Item 7, shall also apply to members of a school band or pep band, cheerleaders, or other similar student groups attending a contest in a supporting role. Due to the potential increased risk of virus transmission during certain activities, the use of school bands at contests is discouraged. If the band is present, limit to a halftime performance or relocate the band from the stands to other available areas away from crowds and increase the amount of physical distance between band members. Increase the amount of physical distance between cheerleaders as well as between cheerleaders and other persons if projected voices are to be used.
9. If a public address system is in use for a contest, the host school will make public service announcements at various times during the contest to remind those in attendance to use masks and maintain physical distancing.
10. The host school is responsible for providing staff to engage in frequent cleaning and sanitizing of restroom facilities during contests.
11. Concession stands are discouraged because they tend to invite gatherings of people in close quarters. If a member school chooses to operate a concession stand at a contest, signage or other appropriate markings must be in place to encourage customers to maintain physical distancing while standing in line. Where possible, schools that choose to operate concession stands are encouraged to arrange for call-in orders in order to reduce the number of people gathering to stand in line and to limit the number of concession workers. All concession stand workers must wear facial coverings and must maintain as much physical distance as possible in the confines of the concession stand.
12. All coaches must complete the free NFHS online course “COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators,” before the first contest (preferably as soon as possible). Administrators with athletic responsibilities are also encouraged to complete the course. The link to access the course is here: https://nfhslearn.com/courses/covid-19-for-coaches-and-administrators.
In addition to these regulations, TSSAA has developed the accompanying rules modifications and guidelines for returning to competition generally and for the specific fall sports.
Those rules modifications and guidelines, like these regulations, do not guarantee the safety of participants and fans but are designed to encourage the member schools to engage in safe practices. The knowledge base related to COVID-19 is evolving.
TSSAA may modify the regulations, rules modifications, and guidelines as more about COVID-19 is learned. All coaches and administrators are encouraged to check the TSSAA website regularly for any modifications to these regulations, rules modifications, or guidelines.