By Chris Yow
Coaches across the area rejoiced recently, as local school systems announced their plans to open their doors once again to students. Williamson County Schools announced online Wednesday it would open on June 1, while Columbia Academy officials told SM-Tn Sports their athletic teams would also be allowed to begin practice the same day.
Maury County Public Schools and Zion Christian Academy have not made any announcements on their intentions at this time.
Independence coach Scott Blade said his team will take full advantage of their limited practice dates in the month of June, while also practicing social distancing.
“Kids will show up, get their temperature checked, answer six different questions and then we will have coaches separate them into groups of nine kids and a coach,” he said. “We don’t use our locker room or weight room unless there is inclement weather, and in that case we will have guidelines in place to keep everyone distanced.”
Summit coach Brian Coleman said his team will take the same precautions, but added he planned to have at least one or two groups inside the weight room.
“We don’t know what they’ve been doing since we go out, so we won’t be doing a lot of heavy lifting,” he said. “But if we do need spotters, they will all have to wear a mask to keep it as safe as possible.”
The TSSAA has said it would follow national guidelines set by the National Federation of High School Sports (NFHS), while adhering to current TSSAA rules regarding practices. The dead period when teams are not allowed to practice begins June 22 and ends July 5.
Blade said he hoped for there to be a clear direction by then regarding the return of sports this fall. June football practices are typically reserved for fundamentals and conditioning, while the July and August practices become vital to teaching skills such as blocking and tackling, as well as schemes for offense and defense.
“It’ll be a challenge, but the most important thing is to keep the kids healthy and getting them back into the swing of things,” he said. “Their bodies have to be ready so we can come back on July 6 and move forward building toward a football season.”
Chris Yow is the multimedia director for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @ChrisYow14.