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The Oregon School Activities Association Executive Board met this week to discuss the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic and made one clear decision: The use of football protective equipment this summer will not be allowed.

Many teams have participated in summer team camps using full pads in the past, but that won’t be allowed this year.

Instead, the Executive Board said the use of protective equipment won’t be allowed until official practices begin this fall.

The OSAA calendar calls for official practice for all fall sports to start Aug. 17, though that date is subject to change based on directives from the state.

One idea that has been floated around the state is swapping fall and spring sports for the coming school year, mainly because football is a contact sport and there is no indication when close contact might be allowable again given the current pandemic. The idea of swapping the seasons has been discussed by the OSAA’s contingency groups and the Executive Board, but the board is not interested in pursuing the concept at the current time, Executive Director Peter Weber said in his summary of this week’s meeting.

Also included in the summary was a discussion on whether face coverings are required during indoor team practices. Weber said that, according to the Statewide Mask, Face Shield, Face Covering guidance, they are not required when someone is engaged in an activity that makes them not feasible, such as strenuous physical activity, as long as six feet of distancing is maintained. Coaches and those not involved in strenuous physical activity should wear face coverings.

Schools also must continue to monitor athletes for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to workouts. If an athlete or coach has a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19, they must be sent home and it is strongly recommended that they be tested for COVID-19 before returning to workouts, Weber said.

Any athlete testing positive for COVID-19 must not return to physical activity for at least two weeks after symptoms have resolved and must be cleared for participation by their primary care provider.

In the event that multiple athletes participating in workouts develop COVID-19, the OSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee highly recommends workouts in the activity be suspended for at least two weeks and that the school consults with the local health department to discuss timing and procedures before reinitiating workouts.

The Executive Board remains committed to a fall sports season, provided it can be done safely in accordance with guidance from OSAA’s state educational and medical partners.

The Executive Board meets again virtually July 20-22 for its annual summer workshop.

For more information on the meeting, visit www.osaa.org.

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