Fayette County student-athletes and their coaches will participate in their three-week summer practice period beginning next week.
That coincides with Phase 3 of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission’s plan for safe return to the playing fields following the onset of Covid-19.
Local schools were involved in strength and conditioning activities under enhanced safety guidelines in Phases 1 and 2 in June.
Oak Hill head football coach David Moneypenny reports the Red Devils had nearly 60 players participate in conditioning last month.
“We have three groups reporting at the same time at different areas of the field,” he said. He reported no issues with player health due to Covid-19 symptoms.
“We do individual agility work, and we do team sprint work without balls,” said Moneypenny. “I call it football-friendly drills.”
Weightroom work and running work on the track was also included.
The first few days of conditioning were “a hit-and-miss type thing,” Moneypenny explained. “It’s a learning process; we’ve never done this.”
He said OHHS staff members networked with coaches around the state to “understand if we’re doing things the right way.”
Through it all, the key was “trying to stay healthy,” he said.
In Meadow Bridge, the varsity football team staged conditioning/workouts in June, according to head football coach and athletic director Dwayne Reichard. Up to 25 athletes participated.
“We have had a fairly decent conditioning period,” Reichard said. The main obstacle was slowing down and making sure to follow proper sanitizing procedures.
“We are ready to get some sport-specific work in next week,” he said.
According to Midland Trail basketball and football coach Curtis Miller, school athletes have taken part in conditioning activities in recent weeks under the supervision of school coaching staff.
Miller said 110 athletes signed up, so 11 different coaches were responsible for smaller groups of players to condition two days a week.
The activities have not been sport-specific, but more broken up into random groups of 10 students, he said.
Anna Kincaid-Cline, the associate superintendent of curriculum/technology/instruction for Fayette County Schools, said that, besides providing WVSSAC guidelines, Terry George, the now former superintendent, asked principals to work with their coaches to keep summer sessions outside. She said George emphasized the following from the guidance documents:
1) Work closely with the coaches and athletic directors to ensure the coaches are meeting these guidelines.
2) All coaches are to wear masks at all times during practice for their safety and the safety of the athletes unless the coach is performing very strenuous activities.
3) Coaches should take every precaution to practice social distancing with drills and training throughout the summer sessions, remembering safety of students is their primary responsibility.
During the three-week practice period, no activities against other schools will be permitted. Three hours of activity per day will be allowed.
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