YHS starts team practices

Yuma High School began morning workouts for its student/athletes — keeping groups small and going at different times — earlier this month.
YHS then introduced team activities in the evening last week.
YHS Athletic Director Michael Dischner said the district received some updated guidelines from the Yuma County COVID Taskforce. The guidelines were presented to the City of Yuma, which agreed to allow the school to get back to team practices.

The guidelines include wording allowing authorities the ability to stop the workouts and team practices if cases rise in the county, that may not even be related to the schools’ activities.
Dischner said the procedure for practices is the same as weight room sessions.

Yuma High School football players warm up prior to their designated evening practice, earlier this week. (Pioneer Photo)

Students arrive wearing masks, are questioned about potential symptoms, and their temperature taken and recorded. After passing the screening, they may remove their masks and begin their practice.
Dischner said high-contact areas and equipment are sanitized after each session. He added that a key component with the team activities is that participation can be at only 50 percent of capacity for the space being used.
“Our teams are not large enough to have to be split up and we are fortunate to have the facilities that we do to accommodate our numbers appropriately,” he told the Pioneer.
There are protocols to follow if someone is symptomatic to limit the risk of contamination, such as that person immediately being isolated. If testing positive for COVID, the individual must receive two negative tests at least 24 hours apart, or wait 10 days from the start of the symptoms, along with the fever being gone without use of medication. If they do not get tested, the person has to be fever free for at least 72 hours without medication, and wait at least 10 days since the symptoms first appeared.
The guidelines allow activities such as open gyms, 7-on-7 drills, or organized practices as long as the 50-percent capacity is met.
Contact sports are allowed, and sports equipment such as balls, bats and other equipment may be used as long as it is disinfected between sessions.
Yuma High School softball players go through a drill with coach Morgan Spencer, during their designated practice evening earlier this week. (Pioneer Photo)
The task force, which includes hospital and health department representatives, does have the authority to determine activities should be more limited based on infection rates in the county.
The task force guidelines also allow for teams to attend out-of-town camps “as long as students are screened prior to attending the camp and daily while at the camp.”
“At this time, we are not authorizing those as we are unsure how the transportation piece would look,” Dischner said, “and fear we may be asked to compete against a higher caseload area that would put us at a higher risk of contamination.”
The guidelines are being followed by all the high schools in the county, and were established by the task force.
Dischner said he frequently visits the workouts and practices to reiterate the protocols. He said he also frequently stocks plenty of wipes, hand sanitizer and log sheets.
Still, it is not without risk. Several professional sports team facilities and colleges where athletes are back on campus working out, have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases, resulting in some closing their facilities.
However, as of Tuesday afternoon, Yuma County has had only none new case in the past week, and just three active cases throughout the county. There had been a total of 10 new cases in June as of Tuesday, bringing the county’s total to 50 since the first one was reported March 18.