WIAA Announces Track and Field Safety Guidelines

La Crosse (OnFocus) – The WIAA has issued safety considerations for spring sports, with track and field considerations published here:

SPORT-SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPRING SPORTS

TRACK & FIELD

RULE CONSIDERATIONS

Rule 5-10-5 – The baton is the implement which is used in a relay race and is handed by each competitor to a succeeding teammate. Gloves are not permitted in relay events.

  • Schools can bring their own batons, or they should be disinfected after each heat/race.

EQUIPMENT CONSIDERATIONS

Masks

  • Masks must be worn according to the governor’s mandate upon arrival to the venue and until the official warm-ups have started or a player is competing.
  • Masks must be appropriately worn at all times, particularly when moving or unable to socially distance.

o Coaches and officials must wear masks indoors and outdoors.

o Spectators must wear masks indoors and outdoors.

o Athletes may use “buffs” or neck gaiters. Competitors may find that it is easier for them to mask-up when they feel they need to, and pull it back down without it dropping on the ground.

COVID-19 Coach

  • Designate a coach to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns.
  • All coaches, staff, officials and families should know who this person is and how to contact them.
  • Train coaches, officials, and staff on all safety protocols. Conduct training virtually, or ensure that social distancing is maintained during training.

Set-up and Breakdown of Meet Equipment

  • Any equipment used for competition should be disinfected prior to and immediately following. Only one individual should handle the equipment on any given day, or gloves should be worn for set up and take down.

General Equipment

  • There should be no shared athletic equipment (foam rollers, resistance bands, towels, etc.). Any equipment that is used for practice (untouched by athletes, such as cones) should be cleaned and disinfected prior to and immediately following practice.

Implements

  • Athletes should provide (or be assigned) their own implements and athletes should retrieve their own implement after all throws. Sanitize implements frequently.

Mats

  • Option 1 – Athletes are to provide their own disinfectant wipes (at least 60% alcohol) to disinfect their hands/arms/legs after each jump or vault, or
  • Option 2 – Host should cover mats with a tarp that is removed and disinfected after each athlete (multiple tarps would be needed).

Blocks/Batons/Vault Poles

  • If shared, these items should be disinfected between athletes as well as before and after each meet.

Clothing/Shoes

  • Must not be shared among athletes. Any items that are not currently being worn should be stored inside a personal gym bag. Gym bags should be placed in a predetermined area 6 feet apart for the duration of practice/competition.

Other Hygiene Considerations

  • Any equipment that is shared should be cleaned and disinfected prior to and immediately following each use and each meet. Be responsible for your own supplies.
  • Athletes, coaches, and officials are encouraged to provide their own hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and/or sanitizing wipes and use frequently.
  • Emphasize to avoid touching the face throughout practice and competition.
  • Spitting/Nose Clearing/Coughing – All athletes and coaches are prohibited from spitting/nose clearing and must cover coughs.
  • Athletes, coaches and staff should avoid touching doors, gates, fences, benches or other schools’ equipment.

General Reminders for Athletes

  • Personal Items – It is recommended that each athlete bring their own gym bag for personal items. Gym bags should be placed in a predetermined area 6 feet apart for the duration of the event. No shared clothing/shoes.
  • Athletes are encouraged to provide their own hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and use frequently.
  • Water bottle – All athletes shall bring their own water bottle. Water bottles must not be shared.
  • Tell coaches immediately when you are not feeling well.

COMPETITION CONSIDERATIONS

WIAA Event Accountability

  • A tracing sheet and verification form shall be kept of all individuals traveling with the team to the contest verifying that the traveling party has been prescreened that day, before departure.
  • When departing for the contest, coaches take their tracing sheet and verification form, signed by the coach athletic director, acknowledging the tracing sheet’s accuracy. If a coach cannot, or does not produce the tracing sheet when verification is requested, it shall be reported to the WIAA office by the opposing coach.

Competition Structure

  • Encourage minimal travel and single-day competitions.
  • Consider single opponents (dual meets), but invitationals can host 8 teams.

o Ensure that all teams have their own area removed from other teams.

o Consider splitting boys and girls teams at different locations.

o Consider splitting levels (varsity, nonvarsity) at different locations.

Event Information

  • Throwing events – Enforce social distancing for all athletes and officials. To limit contact, athletes can provide their own implements (that pass inspection) and retrieve their own implements after all throws. If athletes cannot provide their own

implements, then it is recommended that implements be sanitized between each use.

  • Jumping events – Enforce social distancing for all athletes and officials. To lower the risk of these events, meets (practices) can cover pits by a tarp that is removed and disinfected after each athlete (therefore, multiple tarps may be needed for appropriate event pace). To limit contact, athletes should not share vaulting poles unless disinfected after each use. (See additional disinfection information on previous page.)
  • Sprint, Hurdle and relay events should be run entirely in lanes (may use every other lane to assist with distancing).

o Any equipment that is shared should be cleaned and disinfected prior to and immediately following each use and each meet.

o Do not use baskets at start line for apparel.

o Recommendations for students to wear a cloth facial covering when not actively competing.

  • Middle Distance and distance races on the track of 800m and longer (any event not run entirely in lanes) are considered moderate risk activities if conducted under normal circumstances.

Social Distancing

  • Warm-ups/Stretching – Maintain social distancing between athletes.
  • Congregating of Athletes and/or Coaches – Discourage congregating upon arrival to the field, prior to warm-ups, and immediately following the race/event.
  • Huddles – Social distancing to be maintained as much as possible when the coach is communicating with athletes. All athletes and coaches should be encouraged to mask during huddles.
  • National Anthem – Align team members in a manner that allows them to maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • Interaction with Officials – Coaches and officials should maintain social distancing when interacting.
  • Competition Areas

o Allow only essential personnel to be present in the practice/competition areas. These are defined as athletes, coaches, medical personnel/trainers, and officials. Encourage facial coverings.

o All others (i.e. managers, photographers, media, etc.) are considered non-essential personnel and are not to be in the competition areas. Adhere to social distancing guidelines and encourage facial coverings.

Spectators

  • Follow county guidelines on limiting spectators.
  • Face covering requirements – Event personnel, media, and spectators must wear masks when moving or unable to socially distance.

○ Consider having masks available to purchase or to provide for those who may have forgotten to bring one.

  • Ticket sales – If unable to eliminate on-site sales, consider steps to establish social distancing and provide a sanitization station.
  • Pedestrian flow – Create protocols and signage to address ingress and egress areas and high traffic areas to avoid congestion.

Consider using stanchions, tape or paint as a guide, communicate in advance and create signage.

  • Seating – Establish a procedure for all indoor and outdoor venues that allows for social distancing guidelines. The number of spectators allowed must be in accordance with state/local regulations for gathering sizes.

OFFICIALS CONSIDERATIONS

Officials are not responsible for monitoring activities on the sidelines, such as social distancing, hand washing, symptoms of illnesses and other such issues. This monitoring remains with the coaching staff and school personnel.

  • Bring personal hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently.
  • Bring your own water bottle.
  • Don’t share equipment. Bring your own supplies.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines.

o Pre and Post meet conferences.

o Tabulations and posting of results.

  • Consider using an electronic whistle
  • Do not shake hands and follow pre- and post-game ceremony guidelines.
  • Cloth face coverings are encouraged, and if social distancing cannot be maintained, they are required.

COACHES CONSIDERATIONS

  • Coaches are strongly encouraged to wear masks at all times, especially when unable to maintain social distancing.
  • Communicate your guidelines in a clear manner to students and parents. Athlete safety is paramount.
  • Communicate expectations regarding finish line and chute protocol.

o Minimizing contact with other runners is paramount. Discussions must encompass behaviors of the athletes when they cross the finish line – i.e. falling to the ground and spitting/nose clearing.

  • Follow the CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting the practice/competition venue.

ATHLETES CONSIDERATIONS

  • Athletes are strongly encouraged to wear masks at all times, especially when unable to maintain social distancing.
  • Be responsible for your own supplies.
  • Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed after every workout immediately upon returning home.
  • Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices.
  • Tell coaches immediately when you are not feeling well.
  • It is recommended that each athlete bring their own gym bag for personal items. All personal items should remain in the gym back when not in use. Gym bags should be placed in a predetermined area 6 feet apart for the duration of practice.

PARENT CONSIDERATIONS

  • Make sure your child and immediate household members are free from illness before participating in practice and competition (if there is doubt stay home)
  • Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.

o Gym bag

o Communicate with your child, ways to keep their items separate from others, and emphasize the importance of the guidelines that are being provided.

WIAA Spring Sports Safety Recommendations

We welcome your stories! Contact us at [email protected]!

David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]