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The North Carolina High School Athletic Association recently announced that this coming Monday would be the end of the COVID-19 dead period and schools would be allowed to resume off-season workouts.

Wilkes County schools, however, have elected to wait just a little bit longer as county athletic directors met in a board meeting Tuesday night to work on planning for athletics reopening and set July 6 as the date that it'll allow athletic activities to resume.

The original COVID-19 dead period was set to expire on June 1, but the NCHSAA announced the week prior that it would extend the dead period until June 15. Guidelines for restarting sports and activities were announced on June 8.

The initial plans are to start with fall sports only, according to the press release, sent out by Wilkes County Interim Athletic Director Dr. Joe Bullis. He also stated the school’s gymnasiums will remain closed.

The decision to end its dead period came after consultation with the local health director, representatives from Wake Forest Baptist Health Sports Medicine and high school athletic directors.

“As we progress through this timeline, these stipulations may be revised to reflect the current situation in regard to COVID-19,” Bullis said in a release. “We will continue to evaluate this plan as we proceed toward the 2020-2021 school year. These guidelines address summer workouts only and do not apply to any upcoming sports season; those decisions will be made at a later date.”

Bullis also stated in the release that between now and July 6, they’ll be preparing personnel and facilities to follow the recommended guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of student-athletes and coaches.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association provided those guidelines but some revisions have been made to accommodate the specific needs of Wilkes County Schools.

One revision falls under exposure if someone tests positive for COVID-19. Should someone be exposed, the head coach must notify the local health department immediately to receive further instructions to help with contact tracing.

“While these revisions are few, we believe they are pertinent to ensure the safety of all participants, including outside agencies, while they are utilizing our facilities,” said Bullis.

In order for a student to participate beginning July 6, the following documents will be required — physical examination form dated on or after March 1, 2019, an updated medical history on file, an initial screening questionnaire to participate with waiver/release and a daily monitoring form. The last two listed are to be completed by the coach and student-athlete to ensure the safety of all.

The NCHSAA is currently in Phase 1 of its three-phase plan to restart athletics. July 6 is the first date of Phase 2 while Phase 3 will be implemented on July 27. No details have been given on what sort of guidelines will be required or relaxed in phases two and three.

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