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Princeton Public School Spring Sports

COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan

 

Introduction

This preliminary guidance document is intended to assist members of the Princeton High School & Princeton Unified Middle School Athletics community with implementing an anticipated modified spring sports program during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The recommendations found in the preceding document may exceed the safety requirements set forth by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA).  This preliminary guidance is subject to change as Princeton Public Schools will continue to monitor the CDC, NJDOH, NJDOE, NJSIAA, and our local health department. Any changes to this plan shall be approved by the Princeton Public School Superintendent or his designee.  

 

Primary Points of Contact  

The primary points of contact for all questions related to COVID-19 in relation to athletics:

 

Brian Dzbenski

Shannon Koch, MS, ATC

PPS Director of Athletics

PHS Head Athletic Trainer

Office (609) 806-4290

Office (609) 806-4289

 

Lisa Goldsmith RN, CSN

Kathleen Bihuniak RN, CSN

PHS School Nurse

PUMS School Nurse

Office (609) 806-4293

Office (609) 806-4293

 

General Understandings

  • Cases of COVID-19 in schools and in our athletic program cannot be fully prevented, we can only minimize the risk or spread.
  • Under the current proposal all High School & Princeton Unified Middle School sports may begin virtual and in-person practices on the dates listed below.

 

Princeton Public School Spring Sports

Virtual Contact Date

1st Team Practice Start Date

Season End Date

Baseball (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021

Baseball (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

Basketball Intramurals Boys (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

Basketball Intramurals Girls (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

Golf Co-Ed (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021

Lacrosse Boys (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021

Lacrosse Boys (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

Lacrosse Girls (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021

Lacrosse Girls (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

Spring Track Boys (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021

Softball (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1 ,2021

June 20, 2021

Softball (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11. 2021

Spring Track Girls (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021

Spring Track Co-Ed (PUMS)

April 1, 2021

April 12, 2021

June 11, 2021

Tennis Boys (PHS)

March 1, 2021

April 1, 2021

June 20, 2021









































 

  • All middle school sports being offered will allow for practices and intramural play while preserving the opportunity to participate in local competition.
  • High School competitions in all spring sports will be limited to two events per week; however, two three-game weeks are permitted.  The total number of games allowed for the duration of the regular season is limited to fifteen.
  • At this time, scheduling Out-of-state competition is strictly prohibited.
  • In a hybrid model with existing cohorts, Parents/Guardians are responsible for transporting their own children to and from practices and scheduled Home games. Carpooling should only be utilized on a limited basis. When carpooling masks should be worn and windows should be open to allow for ventilation.
  • Events will be scheduled to ensure adequate time for all participants to leave the facility before the next groups arrival. As a result, everyone should arrive and leave at their scheduled time to avoid overlap in groups. Absolutely NO CONGREGATING before or after scheduled practices or games.
  • All Princeton High School and Princeton Unified Middle School Indoor Locker Room facilities will remain CLOSED to students. Students are expected to return home after school and return to Princeton High School and/or Princeton Unified Middle School for their scheduled practices and/or games.
  • All athletes are required to take home and clean their individual equipment (personal and school-issued) and wash their clothing after every use.  Coaches are required to disinfect any and all shared athletic equipment with the cleaning supplies provided by Princeton Public Schools before and after each use.
  • Our Athletic Trainer and/or athletic event and/or coaching staff will be present for all practices and games and will work collaboratively to conduct temperature checks and health screenings in designated checkpoints.  In addition, staff will oversee and ensure our coaches and players are in compliance with our COVID-19 safety protocols.
  • Any high school athlete, coach, or staff member who believes they may be sick will be required to contact the athletic trainer at and their coach and will be required to remain at home to monitor their health.
  •  Any middle school athlete, coach, or staff member who believes they may be sick will be required to contact the Princeton Unified Middle School Nurse at and their coach and will be required to remain at home to monitor their health
  • Athletes and coaches must use hand sanitizer and/or wash their hands prior to the start of a scheduled practice/game and as needed during training sessions and scheduled competitions. 
  • Each coach and athlete must have their own personal water JUG. Community shared bottle refilling stations will not be available.
  • If a student athlete is in need of water only the athletic trainer and/or assigned staff are permitted to refill their container at a designated touchless bottle filling location.  The athlete’s container will be sanitized in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines.
  • The Princeton Public School staff will clean and sanitize indoor and outdoor portable restrooms in accordance with CDC and EPA guidelines. Only two athletes are permitted to enter an indoor public restroom at a time in the Performing Arts Center at PHS and inside Princeton Unified Middle School.
  • All athletes and coaches will be required to attend an online COVID-19 prevention training course prior to the start of their 1st scheduled in-person practice which will be led via zoom by the Director of Athletics.

Considerations for Coaches

  • Coaches are required to wear face masks at all times and should understand the need to lead by example.
  • Coaches are required to complete the online PHS Athletic Health Screening Questionnaire approximately 1 hr. before a scheduled practice/game or meeting time.
  • Coaches must maintain a high level of awareness to possible COVID-19 exposure at all times.
  • Coaches must ensure physical distancing practices are maintained to the maximum extent during training sessions.
  • Coaches will design activities that allow for risk mitigation strategies (physical distancing, hand hygiene, etc.).  Coaches will not have teams “group up” or congregate in close proximity to provide instructions but rather have students physical distance whenever feasible.
  • Coaches will seek guidance from the high school athletic trainer and the middle school nurse on best hygiene and physical distancing practices for staff and student-athletes.
  • Any high school coach who believes they may be sick will contact our athletic trainer and will remain home to monitor their health. (ShannonKoch@Princetonk12.org)
  • Any middle school coach who believes they may be sick will contact the middle school nurse and will remain home to monitor their health. ( )
  • Coaches are required to be in compliance with the athletic departments communication plan to contact parents and students in the event a training session needs to be cancelled on short notice due to a member of the coaching staff being ill. 
  • Coaches will design sport specific tryout activities to resume in a gradual fashion to allow students the opportunity to become accustomed to wearing a mask during physical activity.
  • Coaches will consider that all athletes may not have been training and may not be at the same fitness level.  A gradual return to play and baseline fitness assessment is recommended after a three-day mask acclimation period.  Intensity levels of activities may need to be adjusted accordingly.
  • Coaches should work with the Director of Athletics and/or the Athletic Trainer for guidance on adhering to a gradual return to play before considering short-sided games. 
  • Break time may need to be increased and/or staggered to accommodate physical distancing, mask breaks, hand washing and/or hand sanitizing. Coaches will avoid having players share spaces such as chairs or benches. 
  • Coaches must stay until all members of their team leave the high school and/or middle school grounds, or Valley Road Fields.  Coaches will ensure that players who needed to carpool are wearing masks and have windows down in their vehicle to ensure proper ventilation.
  • Any winter sport teams use of the indoor or outdoor athletic facilities use must be given prior approval of the Director of Athletics.  Scheduled practices and games are required to be posted on the athletic website to allow COVID-19 staff to be assigned to the event.
  • Activities that increase the risk of exposure to saliva will not be permitted including chewing gum, spitting, licking fingers, and eating/sharing foods during practices and games.

Considerations for Athletes

  • Student-athletes are required to wear face coverings. Athletes are NOT required to wear masks while on the playing field during practices and games or during high intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities.
  • Student athletes on the sidelines will allow for a minimum of six feet of space between one another for physical distancing.
  • Each high school athlete must complete the online PHS Athletic Health Screening Questionnaire approximately 1 hr. before your scheduled practice/game but no sooner than 2hrs before their meet time.
  • Each middle school athletes’ parent must complete the POWERSCHOOL Health Screening Questionnaire in the morning before school and each child will have their temperature checked before attending practice.
  • Athletes will communicate with their coach any need to gradually work up the intensity of their level of participation prior to and during any strenuous activity.
  • Athletes will communicate all health and fitness-related concerns to your coaches and athletic trainers immediately.  We recommend middle school parents contact coaches regarding health and fitness-related concerns.
  • Any athletes who are visibly ill or believe they may be sick will remain at home to monitor their health.  High School parents and/or players are required to contact our athletic trainer at ShannonKoch@princetonk12.org. Princeton Unified Middle School athletic parents are required to contact
  • Athletes will not be permitted to arrive early or congregate before or after scheduled practices or games.
  • Athletes are required to leave the gymnasium, track, field, court, or pool immediately following their scheduled event.  Parent(s)/Guardian(s) should be prompt in picking up their children at their designated locations.
  • Activities that increase the risk of exposure will not be permitted including high fives, hand shaking, chewing gum, spitting, licking fingers, and eating/sharing foods during practices and games.

Practice & Game Health Screenings

  • All PHS coaches and student-athletes will be screened for signs/symptoms of COVID-19 prior to practices and games. Please CLICK HERE to access the PHS athletics online health screening form. The online form can be easily accessed from any smart phone, PC, or Mac and will be shared with all coaches and athletes. PUMS parents are required to complete the POWERSCHOOlL health screening questionnaire. PUMS students will have their temperature checked before attending practices and games.
  • Responses to the health screening questionnaires for each athlete will be recorded in real time if coaches, athletes and parents are not consistently completing the questionnaire they are in jeopardy of participating in our athletic program.
  • Any person who answers “Yes” to any of the health screening questions will not attend their scheduled practice or game and will continue to stay at home and monitor their health.  
  • All athletes, coaches, athletic event staff, and administrators who attend a practice or game are required to complete the PHS athletics online health screening form.
  •  Anyone who answers “Yes” to any of our health screening questions will remain home to monitor their health.  Coaches will not allow athletes to return until they are medically cleared by our Athletic Trainer in collaboration with our Princeton Public School Athletic Physician and school nurse.
  • As a pre-cautionary measure any high school person who answers “Yes” to any of our Health screening questions is required to email their coach and cc our athletic trainer ShannonKoch@princetonk12.org. Any middle school parent is required to email the school nurse KathleenBihuniak@princetonk12.org. In addition, the person who is feeling ill will remain home to continue to monitor their health.
  • PHS Athletic event staff will verify completion of the athletic COVID-19 health screening questionnaire before recording an athlete’s temperature.  PUMS middle school nurse will verify parents complete the POWERSCHOOL questionnaire for middle school athletes.
  • Head Coaches are required to maintain accurate attendance of each practice/game and must submit an attendance list to the athletics department digitally at the conclusion of each practice for the purposes of contact tracing.  A link for the online submission of attendance will be provided to coaches prior to their first in-person practice.

Screening Procedures

  • The PHS spring ports Athletics COVID-19 online health screening questionnaire is required to be completed no sooner than 2 hours prior to the scheduled meet time for practices and games.  An athlete or coach may not remain on our playing fields or at an indoor practice location if they have not completed the online health screening questionnaire and showed their completion screen on their smart phone to receive their temperature check.
  • Screening Survey Questions are listed below:            
  1. Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms, fever greater than 100.4°F, cough or shortness of breath sore throat, chills, muscle aches of rigors, headache, new loss of taste or smell, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting?
  2. Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past three weeks or have reason to believe you have COVID-19?
  3. Have you had close contact with someone who is sick?
  4. Have you had close contact with anyone who is currently isolating because of a positive COVID-19 test?
  5. In the last 14 days have you traveled or had close contact with anyone who has traveled internationally or nationally to a hot spot location as identified by the CDC or https://covid19.nj.gov ?
  6. If you answered "Yes" to any of the questions above or you are concerned that you may be ill, please remain home to monitor your health. Princeton High School students are required to email the Head PHS Athletic Trainer at . Princeton Unified Middle School students should email .

 

  • If you answered “YES” to any of these questions or you are concerned that you may be ill, please remain home to monitor your health.
  • Our athletic trainer will contact high school parents and middle school nurse will contact middle school parents who have answered “YES” to any and will contact the Director of Athletics and members of the PHS COVID-19 Response Team.
  • At a minimum, students (and any members of their household) will need to be withheld from workouts for a minimum of 72 hours. Additionally, students and staff will need to be cleared by our athletic trainer, in collaboration with the Princeton Public School Physician and the Princeton Department of Health.  A Princeton Public School “COVID-19 Return to Sports” form must be completed by the athlete physician to return to play.
  • Athletes who previously were diagnosed with COVID-19 and have since recovered must be cleared by the athletic trainer, in collaboration with the Princeton Public School Physician and the Princeton Department of Health.  Again, the Princeton Public School “COVID-19 Return to Sports” form must be completed by the athlete’s medical home to return to play.
  • If an athlete or parent tests positive for COVID-19 at Princeton Unified Middle School, they must contact the school nurse Kathleen Bihuniak and if any high school athlete or their parent test positive for COVID-19 they must notify the high school athletic trainer at Shannon Koch. A member of the Princeton High School COVID-19 response team will contact the Princeton Department of Health who will provide confirmation of test results and guidance as to determine the level of isolation of an athlete and/or quarantine those who have been in close contact.  Princeton Public School and the Princeton Health Department will join forces to assist one another in regard to contact tracing. The Princeton Health Department will communicate with the building Principal and the Director of Athletics regarding directives and guidance in response to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

 

PHS Athletic Training Room

  • The indoor athletic training room will not be accessible to students. 
  • Social distancing and facial masks are required for all staff and students while receiving treatment from our athletic trainer.
  • All areas used by our athletic trainer must be cleaned and sanitized in accordance with the CDC and EPA guidelines

 

Games

All school personnel must maintain a high level of awareness to possible COVID-19 exposure throughout all phases of a game: 

  • Student-athletes are required to wear face coverings at all times when they are not engaged in game play or practice.
  • Student athletes on the bench or sidelines are required to wear face masks and will allow for six feet of space between one another for physical distancing.
  • Athletic event staff and coaches will ensure physical distancing practices are maintained to the maximum extent possible during drills and on our sidelines.
  • Sidelines are limited to essential personnel. Coaches will consult with the Director of Athletics and limit the number of players permitted to attend home and away games.
  • Spectators are required to be over the age of 18 and possess  a CVC spectator pass to be permitted to attend scheduled competitions.
  • Media, and all ancillary game personnel are required to wear face masks.
  • Officials are required to wear face masks at all times and use electronic whistles which will be provided by Princeton Public Schools.
  • NJSIAA Sportsmanship Policy must be read to coaches and players prior to every game.
  • Princeton High School will not be allowing locker room usage for away teams and officials.
  • Officials will be required to complete the PHS COVID-19 Health Screening questionnaire and pass a temperature check before coming into contact with coaches or players.
  • The visiting teams for home games are required to keep their buses available for use as needed.
  • Post-game handshakes and game celebrations are strictly prohibited.
  • Visiting teams Covid-19 health screening rosters are to be completed and issued to our head coaches prior to the start of competitions.  The roster includes the recorded temperatures of each athlete, coach and team manager in attendance.

 

Plan of Action if Participant Contracts COVID-19

In the case a participant in one of our facilities has a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19, the District will implement the protocols below: 

  • Secure and decontaminate the affected areas by:
  • Closing off areas visited by the person who is a probable or confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Opening outside doors and windows and using ventilation fans to circulate air in the area.
  • Waiting at least 24 hours, or as long as practical, before cleaning and disinfecting the affected area.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting all shared areas such as bathrooms, break rooms, shared equipment used by the sick person.
  • Identify others who were in close contact (within 6 feet for 10 minutes or more) with a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19 Individuals identified as having close contact will be directed to isolate for a period of time determined by the district physician and the Princeton Department of Health and will not be permitted to attend practice.
  • If a coach, athlete, or staff member becomes sick during a training session or game, the person should leave practice immediately. The athletic trainer will notify parents/guardians as well as the PPS Covid-19 Response Team. Information on others who had contact with the ill person within a 48 hr. should be compiled in the event this information is requested by the Princeton Department of Health.

 

  • The Princeton Department of Health will work collaboratively with Princeton Public Schools and will initiate contact tracing and will provide guidance and direction to the affected person as well as others who may have been in close contact with the diagnosed individual. This will be done in collaboration with our athletic nurse, athletic trainer, and with the Director of Athletics.
  • Athletes who are sick must not return to practices or games until cleared by their medical home and the Princeton Public School Athletic Physician.

Transportation

  • Face masks are required for all staff and students while on buses unless it would inhibit the individual’s health.
  • 54 passenger bus capacity is limited to 20 students/coaches to allow for physical distancing
  • All windows are required to be open or partially open to allow for proper ventilation to reduce the risk of infection of COVID-19
  • It is recommended that parents complete the Princeton High School Athletic Department transportation waiver form so that they can safely provide transportation to and from scheduled Away games which will free up space on our buses.
  • Students are permitted to drive to Away games if their parent completes the transportation waiver. If a player carpools with another athlete, they will no longer be permitted to drive to competitions
  • The bus must be boarded using the following procedure: passengers must sit one person per window, one per aisle; starting with the seats in the back of the bus ending with the seats in front of the bus. Students will exit the bus in the opposite fashion.
  • All bus drivers for Raphael Bus Company & the Princeton Public School transportation department will be required to pass a health screening questionnaire and pass a temperature check.
  • Best practices will be followed by the Princeton Public School transportation department and/or Raphael Bus Company for cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.

 

Outdoor/Indoor Practices/Games

  • The number of athletes and coaches permitted to attend outdoor and/or indoor practices and games is subject to change.
  • At this time, the Colonial Valley Conference (CVC) will not permit spectators to attend any scheduled indoor or outdoor athletic events.
  • PHS has the ability to stream varsity competitions scheduled in the PHS new gym through the National Federation of High School Sport Network. Information will be available at a later date.

 

Current Indoor Gathering Restrictions

Under the current Executive Order, the number of people permitted at a practice or competition will be limited to 35% of the capacity of the room in which the event takes place, with such limit not to exceed 25 persons or be less than 10 persons. However, if the number of individuals who are necessary for the practice or competition, such as players, coaches and referees, is greater than 25 persons, the practice or competition may proceed as long as no individuals are present who are not necessary for the event. If this exception applies, the number of individuals at the event still may not exceed 35% of the capacity of the room or 150 persons, whichever is less.

 


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