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High schools: Workouts can resume – if they wish

Gratefully, un-dead.

The New Mexico Activities Association earlier this week said programs in non-contact sports around the state could return to workouts, thus ending the so-called “dead period.”

The state’s superintendents and headmasters voted 70 percent in favor of giving local autonomy to schools as to whether or not they wish to resume summer workouts.

The dead period began on the first official day of school, a date that varied depending on the district.

None of the three major school districts in the metro area – Albuquerque Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools and Los Lunas Schools – has its sports teams returning to action just yet.

And, for the time being, the major contact sports – football, soccer, basketball and wrestling – are in a holding pattern. Those four sports could have an update sometime in the next couple of weeks.

All other sports can resume with their limited workout sessions.

Generally, many of the same restrictions that applied before remain in place. That means coaches and athletes in masks, limited use of equipment, and the pod system – no more than three indoor pods at one time, no more than five outdoor. The ratio is one coach for every five athletes.

Coaches and athletes will be screened continually for signs or symptoms of COVID-19, including temperature checks prior to workouts.

Although school is now underway for most everyone, the same out-of-season coaching rules remain in place since no sports season is underway. A coach has 7½ hours per week, Monday through Friday (no Saturdays, as schools will be cleaning and disinfecting campuses), to work with their athletes.

ELIGIBILITY: There is also an update on the eligibility of student athletes for the 2020-21 school year.

For fall athletes (volleyball, cross country, golf), eligibility requirements depend on whether a school is on a six-week or nine-week grading period. Those three sports are scheduled to begin Oct. 5.

APS and Los Lunas, for example, do grades every six weeks, so athletes in those sports must have a strong academic start to compete by early October. For those schools whose grade periods encompass nine weeks, athletes begin with a clean slate; their nine-week grades determine whether or not they can continue.

For athletes in sports that are beginning early in 2021 – which include basketball, swimming, football and soccer – their end-of-first-semester grades will be used.

For spring sport athletes, their first-semester grades also will be used for eligibility purposes, the NMAA said.

The NMAA said it will not examine grades in May to determine eligibility through the end of June. Baseball, softball and large school track and field state events are slated to conclude June 26.

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