Relief is coming for high school athletes who have been unable to participate in their team sports for months.
The School District of Manatee County announced Wednesday its "return to training" plan, which will be executed in two phases.
The first phase will last from June 15 to July 13 and will allow athletes to use outdoor practice areas as well as the school training room. No one will be allowed in indoor facilities, including gymnasiums, weight rooms, equipment rooms and locker rooms, at this time.
For the first two weeks of phase one, workouts will be limited to one session of 60 minutes or less per day, and no equipment can be used. Beginning July 6, workouts may be 90 minutes in length, and strength items such as medicine balls, bands and plates may be used outside, as long as they are sanitized after each use. The workout time limit begins when warmups start, and they are not allowed to take place between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Workouts should be conducted in groups of no more than 10 students, with the same students always working out together.
Phase two runs between July 13-25. At this point, gymnasiums, weight rooms and equipment rooms can be utilized, though locker rooms cannot. Athletes can also use sport-specific equipment as long as it is not shared, so, at a basketball practice, each player could use their own basketball to practice shooting. Workouts will be limited to one session of 120 minutes or less per day.
Beginning July 27, in-season sports will follow guidance from the Florida High School Athletic Association, while out-of-season sports can use facilities in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Through all phases of the plan, athletes must have their own water bottle, cloth face covering and towel. If an athletes does not have each of those three things, they will be sent home.
The regulations are subject to change based on new information from the CDC as well as state and local guidance.