UPDATE: AHSAA to allow athletic activities to resume June 1

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

MONTGOMERY – In her latest amendment to the safer-at-home order on Thursday, May 21, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced athletic activities can resume for team sports starting at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22.

“Youth sports and other athletic events are going to be allowed on a gradual basis starting when this health order takes effect tomorrow night,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said during a press conference on May 21. “There will be practices, conditioning and drills for youth sports.”

Harris said they are asking people to not compete in direct competitions until June 14 because of the crowds that they would draw, but workouts, conditioning and other activities permitted are going to be allowed by the state.

The amended safer-at-home order says, “participation in team athletic activities is limited to practices that involve conditioning, skill drills and similar activities.”

Originally the Alabama High School Athletic Association said June 8 was their planned date to allow high schools to resume summer workouts and conditioning, but shortly after Ivey’s press conference, they too said high school athletics in the state can resume on June 1.

AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese  followed the remarks of Ivey and Harris saying that this was welcome news for the AHSAA and its member schools.

“The AHSAA, its Central Board of Control, along with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), has updated its guidelines regarding summer activities,” Savarese said. “The biggest change is our schools may re-open on June 1, a week earlier than the June 8 date previously discussed. We are elated to have a definite date for our coaches and student-athletes to return to their schools where they can continue to experience valuable educational lessons through athletics. Please keep checking our website for any changes and updates as we move forward.”

The AHSAA had already been working on a safe return, setting guidelines for how teams could safely condition and workout starting June 8, including social distancing, group size limitations and other precautions.

Now, however, the AHSAA has removed restrictions on group sizes and has moved up the date at which teams can return to prepare for the 2020-2021 sports season.

Originally, workouts and conditioning, as well as any other activities this summer, were going to have to be held in groups of 10, but that is no longer the case according to the AHSAA, who says there will be no group limitations.

It is, however, urged that schools adhere to Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines and work with school officials to figure out the best plan of action.

The AHSAA is also encouraging social distancing, education on safety measures, health screenings, face masks for coaches and players and extensive sanitization.