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INTERSCHOLASTIC SPORTS ASSOCIATION APPROVES START DATE AND BLOCK SCHEDULE

The ISA Board has approved two blocks of sports for the remaining semester of 2021, which includes two blocks of sports with no spectators allowed.

PRESS RELEASE – The Interscholastic Sports Association (ISA) Board of Control has approved a tentative start date and block schedule for the second half of the school year. 

The tentative start date for official practices is January 25, 2021. Although non-contact practices are permitted under the current executive order, the ISA will seek approval from the Department of Public Health and Social Services prior to the start of practices.

In addition to the new start date, representatives from all six high schools unanimously decided to split the remainder of the school year into two blocks. Lower risk sports will take place during the first block followed by medium risk sports during the second block. Certain sports deemed to be high risk have been removed from the schedule.

“I want to thank our athletic directors for all the work they have put into preparing the league for competition,” GDOE Superintendent Jon Fernandez said. “Although we have a set date, and we have all our plans laid out, our top priority remains the safety of our student-athletes and our coaches. We will continue to monitor the island’s health situation in the weeks ahead as we get closer to our opening date.”

“I give our athletic directors a lot of credit. While many districts in the U.S. canceled high-risk sports earlier in the year, ISA held out as long as possible with the hope that all sports could resume this school year,” said ISA League Director, Al Garrido. “Although we are planning for medium and low-risk sports to continue in the spring, sports such as football, wrestling, rugby, and paddling will not be offered this year.”

Coaches and athletes are asked to start preparing now for sports that are scheduled to start during Block 1, including cross-country, girls and boys volleyball, softball, and tennis. Sports that are scheduled to take place during Block 2 include boys and girls basketball, boys baseball, track and field, and boys and girls soccer. A tentative six- to seven-week schedule of games will start approximately three weeks after the first official practice. There will be no spectators at any games unless guidelines allow for it, and only players, coaches, officials, and home team staff will be allowed to attend. 

Coaches should contact their athletic directors for paperwork and requirements prior to being hired. Athletes should obtain a valid physical clearance and turn in updated paperwork such as shot records. Student-athletes should also begin independent training if they have not done so already. 

Coaches and athletic directors will be required to complete COVID-19 training prior to being hired and all sports teams will be supplied with the equipment and supplies necessary to conduct safe practices. ISA guidelines for practices include daily symptom screening, temperature checks, and hand sanitizing to start the day.  “All participants must wear masks except during aerobic activity and will maintain social distancing throughout training,” Garrido said. “Teams will train in pods to reduce exposure and there will be no physical contact.  Equipment will be sanitized before and after practices and there will be no ridesharing, except for families that stay together.”

The ISA Board is also recommending that coaches and players undergo testing for COVID-19 and is in support of the vaccine to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. However, testing and vaccination will remain optional.

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