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AISA releases new set of health guidelines for fall sports

After announcing fall athletics will start as scheduled last week, the Alabama Independent Schools Association released their “Best Practices for AISA Athletic Programs and Events” on Thursday.

Fall athletics is set to begin in the AISA beginning in August. It will be the first competitive action since the AISA shut things down in late March due to COVID-19.   

The document included general information that included home testing, communication and environment acclimation. The document also included health and safety guidelines as well as game day procedures.

Teams are encourage to continue to social distance themselves from one another, while at the same keep a clean environment for the student athletes and coaches. Masks are to be used when possible in accordance to local, state and federal mandates.

Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 must quarantine themselves for a minimum of 10 days, 14 days if the symptoms are severe.

On game days players must be screened, ideally before leaving for campus. Visiting locker rooms should be clean and provide a meeting area large enough for social distancing.

During a contest essential personnel only will be allowed on the field including players, coaches, officials, cheerleaders and band members.

Following a contest, no handshakes will be permitted. If teams want to come together after a game, the players and coaches must walk down a line six feet a part from the opposing team.

Key rule changes in football include: Face coverings are allowed as are face shields that are clear. Timeout breaks will be extended to two minutes as will the time in between quarters and after kick attempts and safeties. Halftime breaks will be increased to 20 minutes until further notice.

In volleyball, no more coin tosses will be permitted.  Visiting teams will automatically serve first in set one. Benches should allow players to separate and be at least six feet apart.

Forfeits in both football and volleyball will count as a loss for the team that forfeits and a win for the opposing team. No team will be fined or automatically eliminated from postseason play if they are forced to forfeit due to COVID-19. Teams that forfeit due to COVID-19 will have to provide a detailed summary for athletic committee review.