Athletes and coaches in Albuquerque Public Schools got their answer on Monday afternoon, as APS settled on June 29 as the official return date for high school sports around the city.
“Safety was priority No. 1, and we need to provide some of the PPE and some of the devices for each of the schools to make sure everyone has adequate protection,” incoming APS Superintendent Scott Elder said regarding the choice of date.
Late last month, the New Mexico Activities Association board of directors voted to approve June 15 as the earliest date for teams to participate in phase one of the reboot of prep sports. Phase one is largely defined as individual drills and conditioning. There is to be no contact, no games or scrimmages, and no sharing of equipment.
To that end, there are an abundance of safety measures being installed to combat the spread of COVID-19, which is what caused the NMAA to shut down all prep sports in the state in March.
There are hoops every school must jump through before it can resume workouts. That includes having the proper equipment — like thermometers and sanitizing supplies. As part of phase one, athletes must have their temperatures taken before each day’s workout; Elder said APS will require eight thermometers for each one of its 13 high schools, or 104 total.
Plus, all coaches must have a COVID-19 test before they can begin interacting with athletes. Athletes will not be required to take such a test.
“Our goal is to get these things up and running for a lot of reasons,” Elder said. APS’ needs are unique in that it is not only the largest school district in New Mexico, but it is one of the largest (top 40) in the country.
Meanwhile, the Rio Rancho Public Schools board was meeting late Monday to determine its starting date. Santa Fe Public Schools has chosen June 15.
Los Lunas Public Schools district athletic director Wilson Holland said Monday the tentative phase one return date for Valencia High and Los Lunas High is June 29 for fall sports and July 13 for winter and spring sports.
Las Cruces Public Schools already had announced that it would initiate phase one workouts on June 22.
Phase one start dates around the metro area vary greatly. Here are where other individual schools stand as of Monday:
n Bernalillo High athletic director Terry Darnell said the Spartans will move forward on June 15 — assuming the school receives the necessary thermometers and sanitizing supplies in time.
n Belen AD Steve Contreras said coaches will be meeting with players next Monday and Tuesday (June 15-16) to talk about protocols and social distancing procedures. Belen intends to start phase one workouts on June 17.
n Hope Christian AD Jim Murphy said the Huskies will begin phase one on Monday.
n Albuquerque Academy AD Taryn Bachis said the Chargers are looking to start football, basketball and wrestling on Monday, but details are still being worked out.
n St. Pius AD Jim Cook said the Sartans will stagger their starts, with football and girls soccer on June 15, boys soccer on June 22, and volleyball on July 1.
n Moriarty AD Joe Anaya said the Pintos are planning to start on Monday.
n Bosque School AD Bruce Stell said the Bobcats are looking to begin phase one on July 6.
n Menaul School AD Gary Boatman said the Panthers won’t start before July 7.
NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said Monday she anticipates weight rooms being available for use come Monday — but stressed that this is not definite yet. An update could be forthcoming in the next couple of days.