Baker High School athletes missed the spring season but they’ll soon be able to start unofficial summer practices.
Students will be able to run across fields, the clanking of barbells will come from the weight room, and cross-country runners can get in their miles.
Starting Friday, June 12, BHS will reopen its facilities, with restrictions, for athletes.
“You want to get kids out and healthy,” Baker School District Athletic Director Buell Gonzales Jr. said. “That ability to share space with people and interact to compete is very good for us.”
On May 20 the Oregon School Activities Association, which oversees high school athletics, announced a three-phase plan for resuming prep sports.
Gonzales noted that the plan isn’t set in stone, so school districts have to be ready to change.
“There is just not a lot of solid data yet, I just want to keep people safe, and there are so many unknowns,” he said.
OSAA doesn’t allow coaches to organize or participate in summer workouts, but they can communicate with students and be present to ensure safety.
In addition to canceling spring sports, the OSAA, in accordance with executive orders from Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and guidelines from the Oregon Health Authority, has not allowed students to practice this spring.
“The OSAA has been very accessible, the information was out plenty of advance,” Gonzales said.“They were in the same boat we were, waiting on the information coming from the government.”
But starting June 12 limited practices can resume.
“We have to make sure there are six feet between each individual, keep our pod sizes ten or fewer with the max of 25, and outside will be way easier,” Gonzales said.
The OSAA restrictions include:
• All equipment in use by student-athletes needs to be sanitized between each use
• Physical contact is absolutely prohibited among the student-athletes, and no sharing of equipment (like footballs) will be allowed.
The idea is to allow student-athletes to take part in workouts that help them stay in shape as they prepare for potential official practices by late summer — and, ideally, a fall sports season.
“So much of what we do right now will dictate whether or not we have some measure of success when it comes to the fall,” Gonzales said. “If we could do this right and we can maintain the integrity of the circumstances then we’re going to be in good shape.”
Though restrictions are in place, for the first time since early March, Baker coaches will be able to monitor their athletes and their progress while maintaining social distancing.
Gonzales understands the increased difficulty that will occur for these coaches as they lead these workouts.
“It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be difficult and it’s going to be time-consuming,” Gonzales said. “It’s going to have to be something the coaches are going to want to do, it’s not their full-time job.”
How the future may play out is uncertain, but Gonzales hopes the June 12 reopening can be the first step toward sports returning.
To keep up to date on how high school sports will continue to move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, go to the OSAA’s website and click on the COVID-19 tab on the main page.