By JOSH FRYE
All high school football teams in the Atmore News coverage area, with the exception of Northview, returned to fieldhouses Monday, June 8, to begin summer practice schedules.
Since school functions and sports were first cancelled at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the future of local prep sports has been uncertain. Monday was a major steppingstone for local schools to get back on track with pre-football training regimens.
After being silent for over three months, weight rooms, fieldhouses and football fields welcomed back Escambia County High School, Escambia Academy and J.U. Blacksher players and coaching staffs.
“We are excited to get back to work, but have a lot of ground to make up,” ECHS head coach Scott Mason said.
As with each program, JUB’s return would come with a few minor virus-related changes
“We are sticking to no more than 10 players per group,” JUB principal Donald Baggett said. “We are having four separate groups during the course of training days. Those four groups will be with one coach. This will help minimize contact between the players and staff.”
JUB players will not be screened upon entering the school’s fieldhouse, but the wearing of masks and use of hand sanitizer is being encouraged.
According to Mason, ECHS masks will be encouraged and coaches will be screening players before they go onto the practice field.
EA is also encouraging players and staff to take proper precautions by wearing facemasks. Coaches will be overseeing proper sanitation of all equipment and encouraging players to observe social distancing guidelines.
According to all three local head coaches, proper CDC guidelines and state guidelines will be strictly enforced. Under state guidelines, the only activities approved for high school teams are weight training, running and other conditioning drills and, most importantly, getting acclimated to the heat.