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PHS COVID-19 Wrestling Guidelines & Expectations


            In support of the Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics, the NJSIAA & NFHS Wrestling Sports Committees offer this document for the 2020-21 season. The considerations outlined in this document are meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging physical distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.

Note: This is not an exhaustive list and there might be additional steps in each school, county, and state to help prevent the spread of virus. Even when taking all precautions, there will still be risk of transmitting illnesses. Everyone should stay vigilant about the health of members of their teams.  Please note this document is subject to change.  

Return to Competition 

General Expectations:

  • Universal Masking will be required for the wrestling season with the exception of live wrestling. For example, masks will be worn during conditions and individual workouts.

Masks have been shown to decrease transmission rates of SARS-CoV-2; therefore, PPS requires that athletes wear them at all times for group training, competition, and on the sidelines. Masks have been shown to be well tolerated by the majority of individuals who wear them for exercise.

We acknowledge that the covering may need to be removed under certain circumstances, but these should be few and far between.    Efforts will be made by coaches and athletic trainers to gradually condition our athletes so that they are able to tolerate wearing a mask, even with high intensity aerobic activity.  Mask breaks will be allowed in designated areas that allow for appropriate physical distancing and ventilation.  The athletic trainer will assess any athlete who is unable to tolerate a mask and in consultation with the district physician individual exceptions will be considered. During wrestling contact, a mask could become a choking hazard and is discouraged. Individuals who swim/dive/participate in water sports should not wear a mask while they are in the water, because a wet mask may be more difficult to breathe through. Any mask that becomes saturated with sweat should be changed immediately.

Athletes should always wear a mask when between practice drills, while not on the playing field, on the sidelines, arriving at or departing from the playing facility, in a changing space, and during shared transportation to/from an event. It is important that the mask fits the athlete well and is worn over the nose and below the chin at all times when in use.

  • Physical distancing of a least 6 feet should always be maintained.  No hugging, shaking hands, or fist bumps for support/encouragement. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Wear a face mask that covers your nose and mouth in public settings.
  • Cover mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Dispose of the tissue after use. 
  • Stay at home if you are sick or experiencing any symptoms indicating you might be getting sick.   
  • Local school protocols must be communicated effectively with all parties including but not limited to temperature checks and questionnaires if required. 
  • Pre and Post match ceremony:  social distancing and the elimination of handshakes before and after the match.
  • Spectators and media personnel are required to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health.
  • Have hand sanitizer and wipes available at the table.
  • Wash stations or sanitizer at mat side.
  • No one touches the score sheet except the scorer. Two or more scorer’s tables may be needed to maintain social distancing. 
  • If writing implements are used, they should be sanitized and not shared with anyone.
  • Disinfect the mats prior to competition. See additional Resource Information provided below. * Please review.   Mats will be disinfected between each bout of a match. A second mat will be added to allow for a continuous bout to occur.
  • Athletes and Coaches are required to wear face coverings off the mat.
  • At the present time, participation is limited to dual meets.  
  • If spectators are not permitted, use designated bleacher space for wrestlers, to maintain social distancing, and have chairs or bench areas for only the coach and two on deck wrestlers. Social distancing should be maintained. 
  • If two mats can be provided wrestle 7 matches on one mat and the last 7 on the other mat or alternate use. Mats should be cleaned before and after each match.  Additional cleaning of mats with appropriate liquid detergents.  See additional Resource Information provided below. *
  • Consider-Stagger weight classes, so not everyone is in chairs mat-side if numbers necessitate.  (example wt. classes 2 weight classes at mat side, while other wrestlers remain in another location or in the bleachers, physically distanced.
  • School Video personnel must wear a face covering and set up in a specified area, apart from the participants.  
  • Whenever possible open doors and windows for the best ventilation.  Check exhaust fans and filters, subject to appropriate cleaning and replacement of filters.  
  • Physically distancing is a minimum of 6 feet, best to go beyond that measure when space permits due to the indoor facility.  
  • Officials, coaches, and wrestlers must clean their shoes prior to entering the mat. See additional Resource information below. *
  • Media:  no in person interviews with the students.  The head coach may be interviewed at their discretion of the school but must be in a designated area.
  • No warm-ups permitted on the competition mat. 

Expectations for Coaches:

  • Communicate your guidelines and expectations in a clear manner to students and parents.
  • Consider conducting workouts in “pods” of same students always training and rotating together in practice to ensure more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.  Consider wrestling partners to remain the same.  
  • Keep accurate records of those athletes and staff who attend each practice in case contact tracing is needed.
  • Coaches are required to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the coach’s health. (on and off the mat).
  • Coach your team and limit interaction with officials to key questions at the appropriate time. This season is all about participation and an opportunity for the students to engage in educational athletics.  There will be no tolerance for confronting officials. 
  • Eliminate all handshakes including post-match.  
  • Limit participants to the essential wrestlers.
  • Limit wrestler’s warm-up partner to one other wrestler.
  • Mats must be cleaned before and after use.  A cleaning schedule should be established and documented.  See additional Resource Information below. *
  • Each school is responsible to design a process of when, how and who will clean the mats during competition.  Mats must be cleaned before and after each match.  We recommend you keep records of the cleaning schedule.  
  • Chairs or seating areas must be socially distanced and assigned to specific coach and wrestlers. 
  • Purchase additional ankle wraps (red and green) so that the wraps may be sanitized.  
  • Health, safety, and welfare of the wrestlers must be the primary focus:  Diet, Sleep, and Personal Hygiene to maintain a healthy immune system has never been more important.  The coach is responsible to work with the parent and student to monitor their health.  
  • Please review the NJSIAA COVID-19 Wrestling Season Modifications. (posted by 3/1/21) 

Expectations for Wrestlers:

  • Each student responsible for their own supplies. PHS will issue you necessary equipment if you do not have your own.
  • Headgear, caps, protective pads, braces, wrestling shoes, socks and clothing must be labeled and there is to be no sharing. 
  • Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing and all clothing, including towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout. No clothing items should remain in the locker room and should be taken home for cleaning. 
  • Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices.
  • Athletes should tell coaches immediately when they are not feeling well.  Any symptom, or not feeling well, must be shared with their parent or coach so as not to jeopardize the health and welfare of all involved in the sport. (team members and coaches).  
  • Student-athletes are required to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the student’s health, or the student is engaged in high intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities.  Wrestlers must wear face coverings before and after the match unless doing so would inhibit the wrestler’s health. 
  • All students on the bench and anyone at the scorer’s table must wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the student’s health.  
  • Students should provide their own water bottle.
  • Students may not share food or beverages. 
  • At the present time shower use is not permitted.  (NJ DOH)
  • Wrestlers reporting from home should shower prior to reporting to the school and as soon as possible upon returning home after practice or a match. 
  • Utilize sanitizer solution or wipes to clean exposed body parts, before, during and after wrestling. *
  • No shared items of any kind including but not limited to towels, clothing, singlet, headgear, knee pads, support or injury braces or shoes.
  • The winning wrestler shall raise their hand when directed by the referee.
  • There will be no tolerance for confronting officials.
  • Be a role model and a selfless teammate, if you are not feeling well, please stay home.   

Expectations for Referees:

  • Bring personal hand sanitizer, tissues, towels etc. Wash hands frequently
  • Don’t share equipment.
  • Bring your own water bottle (filled).
  • Follow social distancing guidelines. Follow six feet minimum distance guidelines when talking to others (players, coaches, other officials).   
  • The electronic whistle is highly recommended. If using a regular whistle, have several whistles available to change out periodically.   
  • The NJSIAA Sportsmanship Statement must be read to one coach and one captain from each team.   
  • Meeting with coaches and captains should be conducted maintaining social distancing and face coverings should be worn by all at the meeting.  This includes meetings at the scorer’s table.
  • Do not shake hands and follow pre- and post-game ceremony guidelines established by state associations.  
  • Winning wrestler will raise their own hand when directed by the referee.  
  • Officials are required to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the official’s health, or the officials is engaged in high intensity aerobic or anaerobic activities.
  • School protocols will dictate temperature checks, questionnaires, and the like.  Please check in with the school administration of any site in advance of your arrival.  
  • If the official chooses to wear disposable gloves, they must change the gloves after each match.
  • Officials should not expect a shower area communicate with site management in advance of the event. 
  • Officials not feeling well should turn back their assignment and contact the school and assignor immediately.  
  • Consult the NJSIAA COVID-19 Winter Protocols for Officials.  

Expectations for Parents 

(A family’s role in maintaining safety guidelines for themselves and others):

  • Make sure your child and immediate household members are free from illness before participating in practice and competition (if there is doubt stay home).  It is critical that your son or daughter understand that not disclosing symptoms, could jeopardize the team and ultimately everyone’s health.  
  • Assist the coach:  Health, safety and welfare of the wrestlers must be the primary focus:  Diet, Sleep, and Personal Hygiene to maintain a healthy immune system has never been more important.  The coach is responsible to work with the parent and student to monitor their health.  
  • Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.
  • Disinfect your students’ personal equipment after each event-match or practice. 
  • If permitted at the event, parents are required to wear face coverings, unless doing so would inhibit the individual’s health. (at the present time, no spectators)
  • Reminder to all this season is about participation, so let the players play, let the coaches’ coach, and let the officials officiate while you enjoy watching your child’s high school team participate in educational athletics.   Weigh-In Considerations:  
  • Weigh-ins may be conducted in the gymnasium, auxiliary gym, wrestling room or any area with the best ventilation and open space.   
  • Only those wrestlers wrestling, athletic trainers, coaches, and referees (if available) are permitted in the weigh-in area.
  • Weigh-in one team at a time and then provide a designated area prior to the match, all must remain socially distanced. A coach from each team should be present during the weigh-in.   
  • Locker rooms are to be utilized for changing if necessary and limitations established to maintain social distancing.  Locker rooms should not be meeting places or hang out areas.
  • Weigh-ins must be in wrestling uniform (singlet, wrestling uniform and appropriate undergarments).  (NFHS 2020 Wrestling Rules).
  • No workouts permitted at the site to attempt to make weight.  
  • Skin checks are completed in wrestling uniform.  
  • School determined temperature checks and questionnaire protocols for all involved should be communicated in advance and followed.   

PHS Wrestling Practice Guidelines:

  • Increase the number of mats for practice to ensure physical distancing. (allow more time for set up and clean up that does not impeded on the 90 practice time).
  • Universal masking at all times during practice except for live matches (ie. Conditioning, slow paced drills)
  • Mats must be cleaned before AND after every practice
  • Single partners should be utilized at all practices when able. If not able, each wrestler must use body wipes before changing partners.
  • Each wrestler must use body wipes at the end of each practice prior to leaving the gym.


PHS Wrestling Match Guidelines:

  • Matches will be in the new gym with both sets of double doors open for better ventilation.
  • Two mats will be utilized so that one can be used while the other is being cleaned.
  • Each wrestler must use body wipes immediately after their bout.



Review Current Resources at

NJSIAA Return to Play Season 2 & 3 

NJSIAA COVID-19 Winter Protocols & NJSIAA COVID-19 Winter Guidelines

NJSIAA Virtual Workout Guidelines

New Jersey Department of Health:  Guidance for Sports Activities Document-January 12, 2021

DOH Screening Form

Additional documents/resources for air quality and cleaning from the EPA & CDC

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