Starting Monday, Sept. 14, Palo Alto and Gunn high school student-athletes will be able to return to their campuses for in-person practices with numerous health and safety precautions.
"While the restart is an ongoing process, we are excited at the chance to get back to doing what we love: working with your children," athletic directors Curt Johansen and Nelson Gifford wrote in a message posted on the school websites on Thursday, Sept. 3.
All workouts will take place outdoors; indoor facilities, including locker rooms, will be closed.
Student-athletes will practice in stable cohorts of 14 students or fewer. Once a student is part of a cohort, they cannot join another group for three weeks after leaving the first cohort, the athletic directors said. Students can participate in multiple team workouts as long as they stay within the same group.
Athletes within a cohort can't share equipment, and any equipment that's used must be cleaned afterward. Students within a cohort must keep 6 feet apart and groups should be at least 25 feet apart.
Cohorts will be assigned a time and location for their workouts. Once assigned, students cannot change their group.
"Switching or mixing groups is prohibited," the athletic directors wrote.
Every student and coach will also be screened by filling out a form on their smart device or with their coach.
"This will ensure that everyone attending workouts is healthy and safe. If a student(s) is not feeling well, they should not attend practice — contact your coach and/or trainer to let them know of your condition," Johansen and Gifford said.
Coaches must wear a mask while they are working with student-athletes, while students must wear masks to and from practice but not during workouts. Every student must bring their own water bottle.
Practice times and locations will be posted on the high schools' athletics websites.
The athletic directors urged students "to refrain from socializing on campus before or after workouts. While we understand it will be very natural for our students and coaches to want to bond and share, it is important that we all do our part to ensure our return to play is both fun and safe."
The California Interscholastic Federation announced this summer that local high school sports teams won't be competing until at least December or January, releasing a modified season that pushes section playoffs for several sports, including football, water polo, basketball and baseball, into spring and summer of 2021.
Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.