Summer workouts underway at local schools

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Summer workouts roll out in phases as school athletes condition while social distancing.  Hilliard Flashes Coach John Pate said the varsity football team began working out June 1. The middle school team began June 15. Workouts are optional and athletes are not penalized for not attending,...

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  • The Hilliard football team conditions July 1. The coaches wore face coverings as they walked around athletes.
    The Hilliard football team conditions July 1. The coaches wore face coverings as they walked around athletes.
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Summer workouts roll out in phases as school athletes condition while social distancing. 

Hilliard Flashes Coach John Pate said the varsity football team began working out June 1. The middle school team began June 15. Workouts are optional and athletes are not penalized for
not attending, according to a handout from the Nassau County School District. 

“We did a phase-in of three workouts per week for the first two weeks,” Pate said. “We split our players into four or five separate groups and rotate them.”

The Flashes are in Phase Two of workouts, gradually building intensity, according to Pate, who added that the boys hadn’t worked out as a group since spring sports were canceled and schools shifted to distance learning. 

Despite the challenges, he expressed confidence that
the football season will trans-
pire. The Flashes host Eagle’s
View for the preseason Kick-
off Classic Aug. 14 then travel to Northeast Florida Educational Institute Aug. 21. 

“I feel we will start on time here – maybe not in all areas of the state,” Pate said, adding that the team has 10 games scheduled. “Some state areas may only get eight games from what I heard.” 

The West Nassau Warr-iors are also in Phase Two. Coach Rickey Armstrong’s optimistic that the season will be on schedule. 

“I know with all the (COVID-19) cases coming
back up, I don’t know what’s
 going to go on,” he said. “They might shut us back down. Hopefully they won’t.” 

Armstrong said that the boys are eager to play football. The team is scheduled to play a televised game Aug. 22 against Bolles as part of the Bold City Classic. The Warriors battle Orange Park High School in a preseason game Aug. 14. They host Yulee Sept. 4. 

“The kids want to be here,” Armstrong said. “They want to work out. We’re supposed to have a good season this year and they know they have to work out to make that happen.” 

Before athletes could work out, they were required to sign a waiver. A parent or guardian was required to sign it along with the student, granting permission to participate in summer workouts and to notify coaches as soon as possible if symptoms develop. 

A screening questionnaire inquired about students’ international travel, whether they had contact with anyone who had traveled or had contact with anyone with COVID-19 or anyone suspected to have the virus. 

The questionnaire also provided responses for those who may have traveled to an area with high numbers of positive cases or if the student may be experiencing symptoms such as “fever, cough, shortness of breath” within a 14-day period. 

In Phase One, no more than 10 athletes could be confined in any area at one time. Locker rooms remained closed, water fountains were used only to refill containers and social distancing was to be maintained as much as possible. Teammates could not engage in physical contact with each other or their coaches, according to the waiver. 

In Phase Two, numbers may gradually increase by the school district’s discretion. Athletes are responsible for returning a signed waiver before participating. They must bring a large water bottle and towels may not be shared with anyone else. Hand sanitizer is also required for use after each station. 

Athletes are not supposed to participate in workouts if they feel sick, feverish or become ill. Equipment is also supposed to be sanitized after each use with hands washed. 

Coaches are charged with ensuring that each athlete has a signed waiver on file, sending athletes home if they appear out of the norm, assuming all athletes are not conditioned and to proceed accordingly. 

Coaches are not to allow athletes to linger after practice. Coaches must keep all facilities secured so that those responsible for cleaning can be aware of the areas that need sanitized, according to information provided by the district. Parents or guardians are urged to check their children daily for symptoms and to notify the respective coach as soon as possible, keeping the athlete home if symptoms occur. Adults are also asked to not congregate with other adults when dropping off or collecting their athletes.