Today Roanoke County schools presented a meeting about the opening of athletics and extra-curricular activities. It was very thorough and it provided many talking points and focused on safety while the state still wanders through the middle of this virus.
I have provided an amended report (below) for families and I encourage EVERYONE to read and discuss these guidelines.
Please understand this is for Phase Two and by next week we will be moving to Phase Three. If you have read Phase Three, it describes opportunities for more people during gatherings but still stresses social distancing. I feel as a teacher and parent that our schools are on the front lines of these events and we will all be in the proverbial cross hairs of this illness. I have decided, for the well-being of our program and our students that we will be changing some aspects of our marching program for the fall. Let me provide some bullet points.
Color Guard and Percussion will be meeting before band camp as pre-camp days. Those section leaders and instructors will communicate with those students and families about meeting days and times. Students will be instructed on safety protocols and hygiene.
No new wind players will attend will attend Rookie Camp. This is a change. We will fold all new wind marchers into basics on the first day of camp so no extra days will be needed.
I will be sending a link for health forms for students for the season. This will need to be filled out before students can participate.
We will hold our band camp as scheduled beginning on Sunday afternoon with details coming for sections and families. We will use that time to give students instructions on safety protocols and hygiene.
We will not be using drill. We will be working on music and marching fundamentals but will not use drill as a marching component. If/when the school shuts down due to illness, we will be out of the classroom and all extra-curricular and sports will be canceled for those days. In addition, with up to 25% of the school meeting on different days, after school practices may make it near impossible for many as transportation concerns prevent participation. I am not truly convinced that this will be fixed by the start of school.
We will be using a band t-shirt instead of a marching band uniform. One concern is the trying on of uniforms and being exposed to other students’ germs. Here is hoping that we may be able to use uniforms later in the season, but for the opening, we will wear t-shirts.
We are looking at playing some fun music for our music contribution. We will of course work on the fight song and National Anthem but add some new music for stands and “show music”. Your student leadership liked “Music of the Movies”.
We are adjusting our budget to meet our goals so allow the boosters to amend before we determine camp needs. We will keep all in informed about camp fees but do not concern yourselves with this yet.
In closing, I hope this finds families in good health and we are determined to provide an exciting and worthwhile experience for our students. Our leadership and rising senior class are anxious to begin so watch for follow up emails as things are changing rather quickly.
The Virginia High School League (VHSL), as of this writing, has not provided any guidance for football games. We are at many mercies and can only follow their guidance as the fall creeps nearer. If things are canceled or shifted the program will adjust with the best care possible. We will keep all informed and appreciate everyone’s patience.
Phase Two Guidance for Opening School Athletics and Activities
The health and safety of all Roanoke County Public School children and staff is our priority. RCPS will continue to follow mandates from the public health experts at the Virginia Department of Health, recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, directives of the governor, Virginia High School League, National Federation of State High School Association, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, and guidance from the Virginia Department of Education in our planning and decision-making. The following measures taken by the schools can prevent the entry and spread of COVID-19 by students and staff who may have been exposed to the virus, while minimizing the disruption and protecting students and staff from discrimination.
RCPS athletic programs may begin to open school athletics and activities as long as the following guidelines are followed:
Athletics should be limited to individuals or team-based practice, skill-building drills or conditioning activities that allow maintenance of physical distancing at all times.
All coaches and students will be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout. Upon arrival, all staff and students will be given a temperature check.
Coaches will complete a Student/Athlete Daily Health Screening provided below with each student prior to entering a group gathering.
Any coach or student who answers yes to any of these questions on any given day will be asked to return home immediately and not return until cleared by a medical provider.
Coaches will check the temperature of each staff member and student upon arrival.
Coaches MUST keep a daily attendance log for COVID-19 contact tracing if needed.
If any coach or student answers yes to the daily health screening questions, the coach must immediately inform the principal and contact will be made with Charlene Vail, RCPS School Nurse Coordinator.
See the Student/Athlete Daily Health Screening below
Individuals should wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with warm water and soap or use hand sanitizer before touching any surfaces or participating in workouts.
Sneeze or cough into a tissue, or the inside of our elbow and avoid touching your face. Throw the tissue into the trash immediately.
Avoid touching your face
Use hand sanitizer often
Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all athletic facilities or activities both indoor and outdoor.
Students must be encouraged to shower and wash their workout clothing immediately upon returning home.
Coaches will encourage and provide time for students to wash their hands upon arrival, prior to dismissal, before eating snack/lunch, after bathroom use and at regular intervals throughout the day.
Limitations on Gatherings
If socially distancing competitions are taking place, the following conditions must also be met:
Outdoor recreational sports are allowable if 10 feet of physical distance can be maintained by all participants and spectators at all times and all shared items can be disinfected between uses.
Workouts should be conducted in “pods” of students/coaches with the same 5-10 students/coaches working out together weekly to limit overall exposure.
Adequate cleaning schedules will be created and implemented for all athletic facilities by the athletic director and provided to the custodial staff, recommended every 2 hours.
Support healthy hygiene behaviors by providing adequate supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, replacement cloth face coverings and no-touch trash cans.
During physical workouts, masks will not be required.
Executive Order 63 allows an exemption for face coverings when individuals are exercising or using exercise equipment.
Face coverings should be laundered daily and hands should be washed after touching/adjusting face coverings.
Staggered starting and ending times are recommended to avoid crossover and contact between individuals and groups.
All students should bring their own water bottle. Water bottles must not be shared.
Physical Activity and Athletic Equipment
There should be no shared athletic towels, clothing or shoes between students.
Physical contact such as high-fives, fist bumps, and hugs should not be allowed.
Each student’s belongings will be kept separate from others’.
RCPS Student/Athlete Daily Health Screening The health and safety of all Roanoke County Public School children and staff is our priority. RCPS will continue to follow mandates from the public health experts at the Virginia Department of Health, recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, directives from the Governor and guidance from the Virginia Department of Education in our planning and decision-making. You can view the complete RCPS Phase II Athletic Health Plan that has been submitted to the Virginia Department of Education and is posted on the RCPS website.
Health Screening and Monitoring During COVID-19Screening, monitoring and testing are essential components of limiting the spread of COVID-19. An important part of keeping schools safe is actively encouraging sick staff and students to stay home if they are ill and emphasizing to all the importance of knowing the symptoms of COVID-19.
In an effort to do so, students must undergo a symptom check at home prior to coming to school or participating in an event. Please review the symptom checklist below for your child. If you answer YES to any question, please keep your child home and notify your child’s school. Your child must stay home 14 days since last exposure to someone with COVID-19 or at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared. Students must also be fever-free without using fever-reducing medication for 3 days (72 hours) and other respiratory symptoms must have improved in addition to the 10 days. Your child may return to school once cleared by a medical professional or completing quarantine as directed above. Upon arrival, all staff and students will be given temperature checks. Thank you for your cooperation.