School district approves summer sports for athletes

Sports are back.

Those three words never carried as much meaning as they did Thursday after the Santa Rosa County School Board approved a plan to allow high school athletes to participate in summer workouts and conditioning.

The workouts begin June 15.

“I honestly couldn’t be happier sports are coming back. I can’t wait to be around teammates and start to build chemistry with them,” Navarre running back Jaden Rivera said.

The high school spring sports season shut down March 13 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It never resumed. The FHSAA canceled the season on April 20.

Athletes have been on their own ever since in terms of staying in shape. They were uncertain on when organized sports workouts would begin again.

School superintendent Tim Wyrosdick and others within the district have been working for quite some time to  develop a plan for a return to sports. Wyrosdick made it one of his priorities. He noted the importance of athletes being able to prepare for the upcoming season.

County athletic director Jason Weeks said multiple plans were discussed before settling on the one presented before the board.

“We tried to do the very best that we could, keeping in mind the most important thing was the safety of our students and staff,” Weeks said. 

Guidelines will be in place for social distancing and sanitation. That includes having all coaches and students screened daily for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to a workout. 

But unlike summers of the past, competition, such as 7-on-7 camps or baseball and softball games, won’t take place in the month of June.

That will allow for athletes to focus solely on conditioning. After all, they have been out of their normal routine for nearly three months.

“We’re going to be acclimating to not only football but to the heat and the restrictions in place,” Navarre head football coach Jay Walls said. “We’ll find a way to make the most of the situation. But it’s great news that we have a start date.”

Like Santa Rosa County, Escambia County is set to resume summer sports activity June 15. Okaloosa County is starting things up this Monday.

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