LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - The New Mexico Activities Association has voted to allow high school athletes to begin practice in June, but with extremely limited interactions between players and coaches.
"We really did think it's too soon," said Las Cruces Public School Superintendent Karen Trujillo.
Trujillo told ABC-7 that she voted to wait until July, along with LCPS Athletic Director Ernie Viramontes and Gadsden Independent School District Superintendent Travis Dempsey.
"I get it," said Trujillo. "I understand the importance of the extra-curricular activities. We will get back there hopefully sooner rather than later, but at this point, it's really just about making sure that our students and staff are safe."
Trujillo said NMAA guidelines allow student athletes to begin practicing on June 15th, but LCPS has chosen a target date of June 22.
Phase I guidelines
- Each coach must be tested once for Covid-19 during Phase I
- Teams will have "pods" with one coach per five students
- Five pods are allowed at a time on an outdoor field
- Three pods allowed at a time on an indoor space
- Students will have the same coach for the entirety of Phase I
- Coaches must wear masks at all times
- Students must wear masks upon entry and exit of practice
- Coaches and athletes must undergo daily temperature checks
- There will be no sharing or use of any equipment, including weights or balls
- Students must bring their own water bottles
- The district will monitor practices to ensure students are not gathering in the parking lot after practice
- Coaches or students cannot participate in Phase I if they are immuno-compromised or have underlying conditions, like asthma
During the week of June 15 to June 19, Trujillo said the district will plan to train coaches to abide by all the rules in Phase I.
"Logistically, it's going to be extremely difficult," Trujillo admitted.
These guidelines are not just for athletic activities, but extra-curricular activities like band, Trujiillo said. The NMAA has not yet released guidelines for Phase II.
"Really for us, it's very much about safety," said Trujillo.