High school football players in Oklahoma hit the practice field on Monday in a cautious step toward normalcy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oklahoma City TV station KOKH reports that high schools in the city’s metro area welcomed players back, but with strict safety guidelines in place.
“It’s going to be a definite adjustment period,” Mustang Public Schools athletic director Robert Foreman told KOKH. “You know we're having to come in and do things differently. Football and all sports are used to being right on top of one another. But coaches did a good job in the weight room keeping kids apart, you know following social distancing guidelines, keeping kids 6 feet apart."
Among the protocols in place in the area are health screenings — athletes whose temperatures are below 100.3 and who answer no to questions aimed at identifying symptoms are allowed to participate — frequent hand and equipment sanitization and social distancing. Players are split into small groups for activities on the football field to encourage appropriate distancing.
The district’s plan was developed with the help of head athletic trainer Chris Kromer, who told KOKH that everyone is having to adapt.
"There's always things we can do better each day, but I think the plan we have in place, you know once you get the kids in, they're consistent, they learn the new process,” Kromer said. “Because, again, this is new for everybody; this is something we've never had to do in the history of athletics."
The district’s phased plan will enter its second stage next week, at which point locker rooms will re-open and some restrictions will be curbed.