4 things to know about Devils Lake Public Schools 'Return to Play' guidelines

Jack Williams
Devils Lake Journal
Students gathered near the steps of Central Middle School early Wednesday morning, Sept. 2 for the first day of school in Devils Lake Public Schools.

Upon the return of students to the classroom, Devils Lake Public Schools has made a way for their various athletic teams and co-curricular clubs to Return to Play this fall. The plan is broken up into five different Phases. Phase one and two: face to face learning, phase three and four: blended learning and phase five: online/distance learning.

The 16-page plan breaks down what students, coaches and parents need to know about participating in upcoming sporting events and other club activities this fall. Here are four things you should know about the Return to Play guidelines.

Other than on the field, team settings will be distanced

There will be no major changes to how games will be played on the field or on the court. However, athletes will be expected to sanitize and distance when they are on the sidelines, practicing and in the locker room.

Athletes’ health are recommended to be monitored before coming to every practice and game. Staggered practice times are encouraged in order to prevent a high number of people in the locker room. Daily logs of all team gatherings, which include athletes’ response to five COVID screening questions are required. Athletes are also assigned a partner, who will remain the same throughout the season and on the bus.

Locker room usage is highly limited as athletes are encouraged to avoid the locker room if they do not need to use it. Locker room usage is limited to one team at a time and athletes are highly encouraged to shower at home.

In relation to the usage of athletic training rooms, athletes are expected to sanitize themselves and the equipment they have used. Staff is expected to wear a mask and protective eye gear when working with athletes and will meet with no more than two athletes at a time in a training facility. One group is allowed in the weight room, which is 15 people max and are tracked through the daily log. Equipment is not to be shared.

For fine arts activities, students are expected to stay quiet when not wearing a mask. When playing an instrument with a mouthpiece, students are asked to slide their instrument into the slit in their mask or place their mask over their chin. Students will sit in a 6-foot-by-6-foot box when in attendance and will all face the same direction. Trombone players are given an extra three feet for a 9-foot-by-9-foot box.

Fan attendance will be extremely limited

Phase one and two offers two different options on spectators at sporting events. Phase one approves large groups coming into the stadium, but attendees will need to follow ND SMART Restart guidelines. Phase two allows each player to obtain two tickets for $6.00 for whom they wish they want to come to the game.

The plan makes it clear that they want fans to come for the game and only the game. Loitering with athletes at the facility and booster gatherings at any time are prohibited. Fans are expected to wear a mask upon entry, socially distance to a maximum effort and leave once the game is over.

Concessions at games will be limited to prepackaged items, with waiting areas being marked for patrons. There will be tables available to seat up to six people, but seating will be distanced.

Fine art events are limited to 500 people or 75 percent of capacity.

Strict guidelines are in place for game day transportation

Transportation via bus is still available, but comes with strict guidelines. Athletes are to sit with their assigned partner on the bus while wearing a mask. Windows will be open on the bus, if possible, to social distance as much as possible.

Overnight trips are prohibited in the regular season and an extra vehicle will follow the bus to events that are over 100 miles away in case someone falls ill. Other details include the way athletes will enter and exit the bus and a following a preset seating chart.

For student congress specifically, there will be no east/west travel allowed. The NDHSAA said it will look into adopting a new schedule in the future. The travel of speech, drama and music will be asses at a later date.

There will be no sharing or possibility for cross contamination

If an athlete brings anything to the facility with them, they are expected to take it home. This includes uniforms and practice gear, which not just expected to be taken home daily, but washed daily as well. The guidelines also emphasize that athletes should not share any sort of equipment.

On the sidelines, athletes are expected to bring their own, labeled water bottles, which will be taken home, washed and not shared with other athletes. An athlete having their own individual water bottle is important as hydration stations will not be provided at games.

On the field and/or court, athletes and coaches will not be allowed to shake hands before or after the game. In football, the ball will be sanitized throughout the game and the ball holder to make an effort to remain 6 feet away from other athletes at all times.

Students participating in fine arts programs are asked not to empty their spit valves onto the floor, but use something similar to a puppy pad. Teachers in charge of fine arts programs are asked to wear the most efficient face protection and should consider using an amplifier so they can converse at a low volume.

Following games and practices, students should continue to practice social distancing at home.

Contact Jack Williams with any comments at JGWilliams1@gannett.com or on Twitter @jackgwilliams.