Will fall sports (cross country, football, swimming, and volleyball) start on time?

Current plans are for the schools to begin fall practice as planned with the first contests allowed on Aug. 20-21. 

Who determines when and if a school will participate in athletic competition?

The AHSAA Central Board of Control sets the beginning dates for practice and competition in all sports; however, the decision of when or if a school will participate is under the jurisdiction of the local school board. 

Will fans be restricted from attending contests?

All decisions concerning spectators, student sections, stadium seating, etc., are under the guidance of home management and should be in accordance with CDC, ADPH and local health guidelines. When physical distancing cannot be maintained, facial coverings are suggested. Note: If attendance restrictions are in place, equal access must be granted to visiting team. 

Does the AHSAA govern the health and safety guidelines provided by the CDC, ADPH and ALSDE concerning COVID-19?

No. The mission of the AHSAA is to provide member schools best practices for return to play for the fall of 2020. 

What is the protocol for a player or coach who tests positive for or has been exposed to COVID-19?

Those who have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19 (regardless of where the exposure occurred) should follow protocols set forth by the CDC, ADPH and local health department. In accordance with the ALSDE “Roadmap to Reopening Schools” contact tracing is an ADPH function and not the responsibility of local schools. 

If a school starts the school year with remote learning or a full virtual model of instruction, are students allowed to participate in sports?

In accordance with the AHSAA By-Laws, Eligibility Rule, Section 9 Academic Rule, students in a nontraditional virtual or remote learning program are eligible to participate as long as all other eligibility requirements are met. 

Will there be any contest rule modifications for fall sports due to COVID-19?

Yes. Based on NFHS recommendations, while the playing rules remain the same, state associations may adopt rule modifications. For a list of board approved fall sport modifications, visit the AHSAA website at www.ahsaa.com. 

What will result if a school board does not allow a sports team to participate in a scheduled athletic competition?

Whether a school campus is open or closed regardless of the instruction model (traditional, blended, virtual or remote learning), until the school allows all declared fall sports to begin participating in athletic contests, every game not played will be a forfeited game by the team whose school is not participating, and the other team will be awarded a win. In this case, no fines or forfeitures will be assessed.

Note: If a school is not able to participate in a contest, the local superintendent must notify the AHSAA executive director in writing.

If a school is closed or a team is quarantined during the state playoffs or during a state meet, will that school or its student-athletes be eliminated from participation?

Yes. AHSAA Championship Play policy requires removal of the team unable to participate. Swimming and cross-country team members must participate and qualify in the section meets to advance to the state championships. 

Will volleyball, cross country, and swimming teams be allowed to compete in or host out-of- state regular-season tournaments or meets?

Participation in or hosting events with out-of-state teams will be a decision of the local school system in accordance with restrictions set by the local government and/or health officials. Schools scheduled to compete in other states should be aware of any local or state restrictions that may be in place that could affect participation. 

Will masks be required?

In accordance with AHSAA Best Practices, when physical distancing cannot be maintained, facial covering should be worn. (Based on the Current Order of the State Health Officer, July 16, 2020). It is suggested that students avoid close contact with others even on the sidelines or team benches and maintain a physical distance of six feet or greater. Close contact is considered being within 6 feet for 15 minutes. Schools should follow local school, ADPH and ALSDE guidelines.

Will there be guidelines for visitors dressing rooms?

The host school should provide a clean environment for visiting teams to dress and have pregame meetings. When possible, the area should be large enough to maintain social distancing. If locker/dressing rooms are not large enough to maintain physical distancing, visiting teams may consider traveling dressed, dressing in groups and/or limiting travel team numbers. When physical distancing cannot be maintained, facial coverings are suggested.

Due to the AHSAA adoption of the football rule modification that extends the players’ box to the 10-yard lines, are cheerleaders, dance teams, media, etc. still allowed on the field?

The local school determines who is allowed on the sidelines. It is the hope of the AHSAA that school administration will work to provide these groups space. However, these groups should be aware that additional sideline restrictions may be in place that may limit or prohibit their access to the field due to social distance guidelines.

Will students still be allowed to use bus transportation to and from contests?

The local school system and school administration may determine the safest way to travel to and from contests in accordance with CDC, ADPH, ALSDE and local school board guidelines. Assigned seating is suggested in all modes of travel to avoid the possibility of an entire team being quarantined.

If a school does not participate in athletics due to COVID-19, can a student transfer to another school and be eligible to participate?

In accordance with Rule 1. Section 12: A student may transfer to any school and be eligible to participate at the subvarsity level (middle school, junior high or junior varsity) if all other eligibility requirements are met.

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