• UMTSD Guidelines and Expectations for Reopening the Athletic Program

    A Priority of Our District:

    Upper Moreland Township School District's priority is to keep our students, coaches, and families safe during the return to play process for high school athletics, as we continue to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. The following stages will be adopted and implemented under the direction of the PIAA, Department of Education, Department of Health, The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and the county health officials after the review and approval of the District's Superintendent of Schools and the UMTSD Board of School Directors.

    General Expectations and Guidelines for Coaches, Students, and Parents of Students Voluntarily Participating in Sports of the Marching Unit:

    • Seek guidance from our certified trainer, school nurse, and district physician regularly.
    • All coaches are required to participate in a virtual meeting with the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director to review the expectations and guidelines for reopening the UMTSD athletic program. Each coach will submit an email to the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, which denotes their agreement on the reopening plan's expectations and guidelines and their responsibility for implementing the plan as delineated.
    • All coaches must view an informational video about COVID 19; this is intended to deepen their knowledge about how to minimize the spread of COVID 19 and implement preventative measures.
    • Governors travel restriction and quarantine protocols will be in effect for all student-participants and coaches.
    • During phases 1 and 2, the custodial staff will clean and disinfect bathrooms, benches, commonly touched areas in the field house, and in the designated district facilities used for sports on a minimum nightly basis. The custodians will also ensure that soap dispensers are refilled promptly, when necessary.
    • During phase 3, the custodial staff will clean and disinfect bathrooms, benches, commonly touched areas in the field house, weight room, commonly touched surfaces in the gym, and in the designated district facilities used for sports on a minimum nightly basis. The custodians will also ensure that soap dispensers are refilled promptly, when necessary.
    • The coaches will provide strictly voluntary offseason workouts.
    • Different times will occur for the start of practices, so the overlap between and amongst sports is limited on campus. All practices will be coordinated and communicated through the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director's office. 
    • Under the supervision of the Athletic Trainer and the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, activities will resume in a gradual way to avoid injuries, heat-related illnesses, and take into account that some athletes may not be at their optimal condition/fitness levels. 
    • Notification of any use of UMTSD facilities, both indoor and outdoor, must be given to the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director's office before entering into the facility. 
    • Social distance guidelines will be emphasized, implemented, and reinforced throughout all of the designated phases.
    • Coaches are encouraged to remind athletes to practice proper hygiene and to wash their hands before practice or at the beginning and conclusion of each practice and workout session. 
    • Coaches will provide daily reminders to their student-athletes to avoid touching ones' faces. 
    • Coaches will clean and sanitize equipment during and after workouts.
    • Coaches must remain on campus at the practice/workout facility site until each student-athlete is picked up.
    • Coaches will provide more frequent breaks and stagger times for students to wash their hands, to accommodate social distancing, and to maintain proper hydration.
    • Coaches must wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet.
    • Athletes are encouraged to immediately communicate all health and fitness-related concerns directly to the coach and athletic trainer.
    • As two examples, athletes may not congregate or engage in physical contact, such as fist-bumping and high-fiving. 
    • Athletes are required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition. This is subject to change with recommendations from the health department
    • Athletes are strongly encouraged to bring their hand sanitizer and to utilize it to wash their hands at the beginning and conclusion of each workout and practice. 
    • Athletes must have their water bottles and avoid sharing any water bottles with teammates. Athletes will not be permitted to use water fountains or sinks to refill water bottles. They will be responsible for bringing sufficient water for the duration of the workout/practice. If a student runs out of necessary water for hydration during the practice, a coach will be solely responsible for refilling the student's water bottle and will do such while wearing gloves.
    • Athletes will be requested to clean and sanitize their district-issued equipment and clothing after every use and after workout/practice.
    • If inclement weather, such as rain or thunderstorms, occurs while the students engage in an outdoor practice, the coaches will promptly bring them inside the facility. Students will be required to maintain a social distance of at least six feet and will return to outdoor practice as soon as it is safely possible.
    • Students will only have access to the indoor facilities for bathroom usage in phases 1 and 2.

    Pre-Workout Expectations and Procedures for All Phases:

    • All student-athletes and coaches must be appropriately screened before the beginning of every workout/practice. Daily screening for students and coaches will include answering questions about respiratory illness, fever, contact with any person tested positive for COVID 19 within the past 14 days, and with any person being assessed for COVID 19 over the past 14 days. Coaches will provide students with a log they will require students to use before each voluntary practice to document their temperature and screening responses.
    • Students must take their temperatures at home before coming to their voluntary practices; they must record their temperature in the log and indicate if they are with or without COVID 19 symptoms in the log their coach will provide.
    • The coach will facilitate a non-touch thermometer screening on the forehead for a student who may have forgotten to take their temperature; this will occur before the workout/practice. In the event the coach is unavailable, he/she will contact the Athletic Trainer and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director to facilitate the screenings.
    • Non-touch thermometer screenings on the forehead for coaches will occur before each workout/practice.
    • The individual coaches will maintain daily attendance and require each student to document and share each screening log.
    • Any student with a temperature of 100.4 or higher and with symptoms of COVID 19 will be sent home immediately and informed that he/she must remain home for 72 hours. The student and their parent will be encouraged to contact their health care provider for further direction. Communication about this matter will occur immediately with the Assistant Principal/HS Athletic Director and Athletic Trainer.
    • Coaches and spectators must wear masks and consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, whenever possible.
    • Students are  required to wear face masks while actively engaged in workouts and competition, this is subject to change from recommendations from the department of health.
    • Athletes and coaches should use their hand sanitizer and wash hands before the start of each workout, during the exercise, if needed, and upon the conclusion of the workout/practice.
    • If inclement weather, such as rain or thunderstorms, occurs while the students engage in an outdoor practice, the coaches will promptly bring them inside the facility. Students will be required to maintain a social distance of at least six feet and will return to outdoor practice as soon as it is safely possible.
    • Parents/guardians of students participating in athletics are required to review UMTSD's Reopening of the Athletic Program document or the video posted on the UMTSD website. Once completed, a parent/guardian must email the coach before the student begins offseason workouts/practice stating that they have viewed the video or read the reopening policy and agree to follow the guidelines and expectations outlined in the plan.

    If a student or staff member is showing one of the following symptoms of COVID-19:

    • A cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell, the individual should be tested for COVID-19.
      • If the test result is negative OR the individual has a doctor’s note with a differential diagnosis, the individual may return to school after 24 hours afebrile (without fever) and with improved respiratory symptoms
      • If test result is positive or the individual is unable/refuses to get tested, the student may return to school after:
        • 24 hours with no fever and
        • Improvement in symptoms and
        • 10 days since symptoms first appeared

    If a student, coach, or other staff member has a Positive COVID-19 PCR Test:

    WITH SYMPTOMS the individual may:

    • return to school after: 24 hours with no fever and
    • improvement in symptoms and
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

    WITHOUT SYMPTOMS the individual may:

    • return to school after:10 days after PCR test was collected
    • *If symptoms develop during the 10 days, the district and the individual will follow the return to school guidance for positive PCR with symptoms.

    If a student, coach, or other staff member has close contact to a COVID-19 positive person by being within 6ft for 15 minutes or more or has household contact:

    WITH SYMPTOMS, the individual should be tested for COVID-19.

    • If test result is negative, the individual may return to school 14 days after last exposure to the person with COVID-19 and symptoms have resolved.
    • If the test result is positive, the district and the individual must follow the return to school guidance for positive PCR with symptoms.

    WITHOUT SYMPTOMS, the individual will be excluded 14 days after the last date of exposure to the person with COVID-19.

    Household contacts are in quarantine until 14 days after household positive is released from isolation.

    • Household contacts are in quarantine until 14 days after household positive is released from isolation.
    • *If symptoms develop during the 14 days, follow return to school guidance for Close Contact with symptoms.

    If a student, coach, or other staff member has traveled to States with high COVID-19 rates, they must follow the recommendations of the department of health before returning to activity.

    WITH SYMPTOMS- If symptoms develop during the recommended 14-day quarantine upon return to PA, follow return to school guidance for COVID-19 symptoms.

    WITHOUT SYMPTOMS- The individual must self-quarantine for 14 days from when they return to PA.

    • This recommendation could change and will be evaluated by the Montgomery County Department of Health and our Athletic Trainer.

    Upper Moreland Phase 1 Return to Play:

    • Conditioning and individual non-contact drills can start.
    • All stretching, warm-up, cooldown exercises and drills should be implemented in a socially distant manner of at least six feet apart.
    • Groups of 25 or less are permitted on the designated athletic fields, and workout/practice sites; this total number includes coaches.
    • Coaches and spectators must wear face masks when they are outdoors and should consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, whenever possible.
    • Students are permitted to remove their masks when they are eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart; or when wearing a face-covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task; or at least 6 feet apart during “face-covering breaks” to last no longer than 10 minutes.
    • Athletes are required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition, this is subject to change from recommendations from the department of health.
    • Athletes must wear masks going into the facility, leaving the facility, and while attending any brief meetings with the coach.
    • Athletes may not share any water bottles, towels, pinnies, or possessions during this phase. Athletes will not be permitted to use water fountains or sinks to refill water bottles. They will be responsible for bringing sufficient water for the duration of the workout/practice.
    • Athletes may not congregate or engage in physical contact, handshakes, fist bumps, or high-fives.
    • Team meetings will be facilitated in a virtual format.
    • Bathrooms will be selected for a student to use, one at a time.
    • No spectators will be allowed on the fields or in the school.
    • A spectator or parent must remain in the vehicle and wait for the student-athlete to immediately meet up at their car following the commencement of practice.

    Upper Moreland Phase 2 Return to Play

    • All stretching, warm-up, and cooldown exercises should be implemented in a socially distant manner of at least six feet apart.
    • Groups of 50 or less, including the coaches, are allowed to practice and play on the athletic fields. 
    • Before implementation, contact drills will be performed on a minimal basis and reviewed with the Athletic Trainer and the Assistant Principal/HS Athletic Director.
    • Scrimmages between players will not be authorized during this phase.
    • Modified drills and in-game scenarios can be implemented with limited contact; however, no contact is preferred.
    • Coaches and spectators must wear masks when they are outdoors and should consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet, when possible.
    • Locker rooms will not be available for use by students at this time.
    • Athletes may not congregate or engage in physical contact, handshakes, fist bumps, or high-fives.
    • Team meetings will continue on a virtual platform.
    • No spectators will be allowed on the fields or in the school building.
    • A spectator and parent should remain in the vehicle and wait for the student-athlete to immediately meet up at the car following the commencement of practice.
    • Athletes are required to wear face masks while actively engaged in workouts and competition, this is subject to change from recommendations by the department of health.
    • Athletes must wear masks going into the facility, leaving the facility, and while attending any brief meetings with the coach.
    • Athletes may not share any water bottles, towels, pinnies, or possessions during this phase. Athletes and marching unit students will not be permitted to use water fountains or sinks to refill water bottles. They will be responsible for bringing sufficient water for the duration of the workout/practice.
    • Disinfecting objects should take place during and after workouts; the coach will wipe down equipment the student uses before another student begins using the same piece of equipment, when applicable.  

    Upper Moreland Phase 3 Return to Play (Updated, Winter Season, Starting 11/20/20) :

    • This phase may need further modification during the implementation of this plan. Revisions may be made and are dependent upon new information shared by the Superintendent of Schools and relevant outside agencies such as ATI, the Montgomery County Health Department, and the Governor of Pennsylvania.
    • Student should not be traveling under the current restrictions from Pennsylvania. If students decide to travel, they must follow the recommendations by the department of health before returning to activity.
    • Safety guidelines for coaches and student-athletes remain in effect from phases one and two.
    • Students will be eased into contact drills and scrimmages. These discussions will happen with the coach, the Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, and the Athletic Trainer.
    • Students MUST bring their water bottles. Water bottles must not be shared.
    • No handshakes, fist- bumps, or high fives will be permitted.
    • Student-athletes must remain with their assigned groups during each workout and daily workouts to limit the number of people they contact.
    • No students will be allowed in the training areas without an athletic trainer or the coach. Masks must be worn at all times when with the trainer
    • Masks must be worn at all times, this includes during physical activity. This is subject to change as further guidance comes out from the department of health.
    • All student-athletes must review and return the student-athlete contract with both a parent/guardian and student signature, denoting approval of the requirements outlined in the agreement before playing a winter sport. If signatures are missing, or if the student and/or his/her parent disagrees with the contract requirements, the student-athlete will not be permitted to play winter sports.

    Pre-workout/Contest Screening:

    • Any person who has COVID-19 symptoms will not be permitted to participate in practice/games or be present at the facility. Clearance will be required from the primary care, urgent care, or school district physician to return to play.
    • The health and wellness screening will continue during this phase to proactively address how we will address students and coaches not feeling well.
    • All coaches and students must be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 before a workout. 
    • Responses to screening questions for each person must be recorded and maintained so that there is a record of everyone present if a student develops COVID-19.
    • Masks will still be required for all coaches and student-athletes while entering and leaving the facility, while present on the sidelines, and in the dugouts.
    • Small groups up to 20% of occupancy, with the approval from the Montgomery Department of Health will be allowed inside the high school facility to utilize the gym, pool at the middle school and weight rooms.
    • Team attendance must be recorded. 

    Limitations on Gatherings: 

    • Per the PIAA requirements, spectators will be a district and league decision. UMTSD will decide the number of spectators permitted for home games before each game/competition. The Athletic Director/Assistant Principal will communicate the spectator limit to each coach before each game. Away spectators will not be permitted to attend any of UMTSD’s home games. 
    • No gathering of more than 20% of the max occupancy will be allowed in any district facility. This percentage is subject to change with little notice.
    • Appropriate social distancing and face-covering requirements directed by the Department of Health and the UMTSD Health and Safety Plan will be implemented and maintained. 

    Facilities Cleaning and Disinfecting

    • Expectations for cleaning and disinfecting remain in place from phases one and two.
    • Adequate cleaning schedules will be created and implemented for all athletic facilities to mitigate any communicable disease when indoor practices are permitted. 
    • When students are allowed to use indoor facilities such as the gym and weight room, athletic facilities will be cleaned before arrival and post workouts and team gatherings; high-touch areas will be cleaned more often. 

    Uniforms and Equipment:

    • Students are to refrain from sharing clothing/towels, and these should be washed after each practice, including pinnies. 
    • When students are using equipment in the weight room, students must wipe down the equipment after using it and before moving to use another piece of equipment. 
    • Athletic equipment that may be used by multiple individuals (balls, shields, shot put, discus, pole vault, etc.) are to be cleaned often.
    • Regular use of a hand sanitizer will be encouraged before, during, and after practices, workout sessions, and games. 

    Transportation (when permitted):

    Modifications for student/coach transportation to and from athletic events may be necessary. Adaptations may include: 

    • Reducing the number of students/coaches on a bus/van.
    • Using hand sanitizer upon boarding a bus/van. 
    • The social distance on a bus. 
    • If students ride the bus for an athletic contest, they will be required to wear a mask while entering, exiting, and on the bus.
    • Students may have the option to have their parents or guardians take them to and from athletic competitions if they have submitted documentation and received prior approval from the Assistant Principal of the High School/ Athletic Director.
    • The school district will determine potential modifications, together with the transportation department, Department of Education, and state and local governments, once transportation for events is permitted. 

    Sidelines/Bench – appropriate social distancing must be maintained on sidelines/bench during contests and events, as deemed necessary by the school, PIAA, state, and local governments. The use of tape or paint will be considered and used to guide and remind students and coaches about the six-foot social distance expectation.

    Who should be allowed to attend athletic events? Tier 1 and 2 personnel will be allowed to participate in events until directed otherwise by UMTSD administration based on guidance from PDE and the Department of Health.

    1. Tier 1 (Essential) – Athletes, coaches, officials, event staff, medical staff, security 
    2. Tier 2 (Preferred) – Media, Scouts 
    3. Tier 3 (Non-essential) – Limited number of UMTSD Spectators (no spectators from the away team will be permitted)

    Changes to seating capacity and social distancing may be necessary for each venue and will be determined as the local/state governments release more recommendations. 

    POSITIVE CASES AND COACHES, STAFF, OR ATHLETES SHOWING COVID-19 SYMPTOMS: 

    Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The symptoms may range from mild to severe. (See CDC Fact Sheet). Symptoms may include:  

      • Fever or chills (100.4 or higher) 
      • Cough 
      • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
      • Fatigue 
      • Muscle or body aches 
      • Headache 
      • New loss of taste or smell 
      • Sore Throat 
      • Congestion or runny nose 
      • Nausea or vomiting 
      • Diarrhea 

    If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you are infected with the virus, STAY AT HOME. You must take steps to help prevent the disease from spreading to people in your home or community. If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop symptoms, call your healthcare provider for medical advice. 

    If a student or staff member is showing one of the following symptoms of COVID-19:

    • A cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or new loss of taste or smell, the individual should be tested for COVID-19.
      • If the test result is negative OR the individual has a doctor’s note with a differential diagnosis, the individual may return to school after 24 hours afebrile (without fever) and with improved respiratory symptoms
      • If test result is positive or the individual is unable/refuses to get tested, the student may return to school after:
        • 24 hours with no fever and
        • Improvement in symptoms and
        • 10 days since symptoms first appeared

    If a student, coach, or other staff member has a Positive COVID-19 PCR Test:

    WITH SYMPTOMS the individual may:

    • return to school after: 24 hours with no fever and
    • improvement in symptoms and
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared.

    WITHOUT SYMPTOMS the individual may:

    • return to school after:10 days after PCR test was collected
    • *If symptoms develop during the 10 days, the district and the individual will follow the return to school guidance for positive PCR with symptoms.

    If a student, coach, or other staff member has close contact to a COVID-19 positive person by being within 6ft for 15 minutes or more or has household contact:

    WITH SYMPTOMS, the individual should be tested for COVID-19.

    If test result is negative, the individual may return to school 14 days after last exposure to the person with COVID-19 and symptoms have resolved.
    If the test result is positive, the district and the individual must follow the return to school guidance for positive PCR with symptoms

    WITHOUT SYMPTOMS, the individual will be excluded 14 days after the last date of exposure to the person with COVID-19.

    • Household contacts are in quarantine until 14 days after household positive is released from isolation.
    • *If symptoms develop during the 14 days, follow return to school guidance for Close Contact with symptoms.

    If a student, coach, or other staff member has traveled to States with high COVID-19 rates, critical workers are encouraged to wear both a face shield and mask and social distance, if unable to quarantine.

    WITH SYMPTOMS - If symptoms develop during the recommended 14-day quarantine upon return to PA, follow return to school guidance for COVID-19 symptoms.

    WITHOUT SYMPTOMS - The individual must self-quarantine for 14 days from when they return to PA.

    What to do if a student or staff member becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms during practice, an event, or transportation to or from an event? 

      • Isolate the ill individual from others, until the student or staff member can leave the school or event. A face covering is required at all times under this circumstance.
      • The parent/guardian will be contacted immediately, and arrangements will be made to pick up the student. 
      • The ill individual will be asked to contact their physician or appropriate healthcare professional for direction. 
      • Close off areas used by a sick person and do not use them until after cleaning and disinfecting them (for outdoor spaces, this includes surfaces or shared objects in the area, if applicable). 

    Return of student or staff to athletics following a COVID-19 diagnosis: 

    Students or staff will be required to have medical clearance from the Montgomery County Department of Health. 

    EDUCATION:

    Staff, Coaches, Parents, and Athletes will be educated on the following (through meetings, emails, phone calls): 

      • COVID-19 signs and symptoms.
      • Proper ways to limit exposure to COVID-19 (handwashing, cough in your elbow, disinfecting touched surfaces, social distancing, avoid touching eyes, nose, face, and mouth, wearing masks, when appropriate).
      • The content of this Return to Athletics Guidelines Document.
      • Any pertinent COVID-19 information released by state/local governments, NFHS, and the PIAA. 

    Designated COVID-19 Point of Contact:

    The Athletic Director/Assistant High School Principal is designated as UMTSD’s person responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns for athletics. All coaches, staff, officials, and families have been given his name and contact information. 

    Communication Systems and Follow up Procedures when a student, coach or staff member has COVID-19 or has been in close contact with someone with COVID-19:

    • Coaches, staff, umpires/officials, and families of athletes will self-report to the athletic trainer if they have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were directly exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
    • When school is not in session, the coach will email the High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director to report symptoms, positive test results, and exposure to someone with COVID-19.
    • In the event of a case of COVID-19, the High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director will contact the districts pandemic liaison to contact the department of health for further instruction.
    • The Montgomery County Health Department (MCHD) will be responsible for contact tracing in the event of exposure to a student-athlete, coach, official or staff member with an active or probable case of COVID-19. 
    • Upper Moreland Township School District will provide the MCHD detailed information on student-athletes, coaches, officials, and staff that were in close contact or physical contact with the sick individual to facilitate rapid contact tracing.
    • UMTSD is not responsible for testing for COVID-19 but will screen student-athletes, coaches, officials, and staff for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. 
      • Coaches, staff, umpires/officials, and families of players (as feasible) are expected to self-report to the Athletic Director/Assistant High School Principal if they have symptomsof COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days in accordance with health information sharing regulations for COVID-19external icon.
      • The Athletic Director/Assistant High School Principal will work directly with the Montgomery County Department of Health and notify staff, officials, families, about any restrictions in place to limit COVID-19 exposure (e.g., limited hours of operation).

    Documents Referenced:

    1. CDC COVID-19 Considerations for Youth Sports- May 29, 2020.
    2. KSI Return to Sports and Exercise during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance for High School and Collegiate Athletic Programs- June 2, 2020.
    3. NATA COVID-19 Return to Sports: Considerations for Secondary School Athletic Trainers- May 2020.
    4. National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Guide for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities- May 2020.
    5. PA Department of Education Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools- June 3, 2020.
    6. PIAA Press Release- June 10, 2020.
    7. PIAA Press Release- July 3, 2020.
    8. UPMC Sports Medicine Playbook: Returning to Sports During COVID-19. Minimum Guidelines (High School)- May 28, 2020.
    9. Washington University's Resocialization of Sports Recommendations- June 1, 2020.