Note: This is not an exhaustive list and there might be additional steps in each community 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. These guidelines are to be integrated with the NFHS guidelines and the MHSAA Mississippi Sports Medicine guidelines. The situation with Covid-19 is rapidly changing. Please keep up with the latest from the CDC, the Mississippi Department of Health, and your county health department.
- It is recommended that coaches should complete a basic education course on COVID 19, such as the NFHS COVID-19 for Coaches and Administrators Course
- The emergency action plans for each sport and individual venue should be updated to reflect changes necessary to meet COVID 19 requirements
- Coaches should regularly confirm the availability of, and access to hand-washing facilities, hand sanitizer and cleaning materials at all locations used by their students.
- Each school must provide its coaches and athletic medical staff access to adequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves and face shields.
- Assigned bus seating should be used to assist with any necessary contact tracing.
Hygiene and Masking
- Hand washing or hand sanitizing should be completed before beginning activity, at frequent intervals during workouts or competition, and upon completion of activity before leaving the facility.
- Hand sanitizer, hand sanitizing stations or hand washing facilities should be made readily available at all venues, during workouts, practice, or competition.
- All non-competing students and game administrators should be masked at all times.
- Competing athletes should be allowed the option of wearing a mask during competition or working out.
- Students who are rotating out of competition, coaches, and school personnel should be masked.
- Teams will be responsible for supplying extra masks in the event one should become soiled, damaged, or lost during competition.
- Archers should not share equipment. In the event equipment is shared the equipment must be cleaned/sanitized throughout the practice or competition.
- Archers should socially distance at all times.
- Targets should be spaced 6-8 feet apart to allow for social distancing.
- Athletes not participating in competition should socially distance and wear a mask at all times.
Mississippi Department of Wildlife Procedures:
1. Range Lane Spacing – Avoiding Shared Breath and Touching
Whatever safe spacing distance is required, that would also be the minimum width of lanes on the range. In other words, if 6 feet continues to be the recommended safe distancing, lanes should be 6 feet wide with a single archer per lane; standing in the middle of the lane.
Only one archer may shoot at a time in a single target lane.
Two archers may shoot on the same target but must alternate shooting positions.
The second archer must wait behind the waiting line until the first archer is finished.
Adequate space behind the waiting line should be provided to keep all shooters six feet apart.
If archers shoot the same target during a flight, only one archer at a time should go to the target line to score and retrieve arrows. (see scoring)
The waiting line should also be marked and managed to maintain safe distancing.
2. Equipment Management – Avoiding Cross-Contamination
Students should each have their own, without sharing, personal Stringbow, when learning and practicing the Eleven Steps to Archery Success. The same would hold true if the archers are using armguards, gloves, or finger tabs.
Arrows must be sanitized between archers, if reused. (between flights)
Shooters should always wear appropriate mask, except when on the shooting line. If the archer is wearing a face mask, while shooting, care should be taken that all parts of the mask are such that they won’t be snagged by the string when released. Bowhunters routinely shoot while wearing face masks.
Again, Shooters will wear a face mask except when shooting, which will be optional. At this time shooters should be six feet from any other person before removing their mask to shoot.
Mask will cover the nose and mouth at all times it is except while shooting, which will be optional.
When retrieving or returning bows to the bow rack, only one archer should be at the bow rack at a time. If the range has multiple bow racks, they should be spaced according to social distancing requirements to allow multiple archers to pick up and return bows.
Each archer’s bow should be on its own hook with no sharing of bow or hook unless disinfected between archers.
Shared bows and arrows should be regularly disinfected. To disinfect, the CDC indicates, “Most common EPA-registered household disinfectants will work”. Except caustic agents such as bleach should be kept off the bowstring.
- Soap and water
- 60% or greater alcohol wipes
- Bleach should be avoided on bowstrings.
- Special care should be taken to maintain safe distancing when setting up or taking down the range if students help.
3. Scored Shooting – Avoiding Cross-Contamination
Archers should remain separated by at least six feet while walking to the target.
The target line should be seven feet from the target to allow six feet between shooters while scoring.
Scoring should be conducted from the left side of the target while one archer remains behind the target line.
When scoring there should be one archer at the target and one behind the target line, each archer should touch only his arrows, and a mask must be worn while scoring.
One archer should score arrows, the other archer should mark score cards. The archer scoring arrows should never touch the scorecards.
The clip board should be placed on the target line after being marked in a\each end.
The archer scoring arrows may review the score card when the archer marking the card leaves the target line.
To avoid handling each other’s cards, they should be unsigned and collected by a gloved official or handed in by the archer who handled the card.
Clipboards should be disinfected between flights or before a change in scorer occurs.
Pencils should not be shared.
Hand sanitizer should be available on the range and should be used immediately after shooting each end. (anchoring near the mouth or nose). Each archer may have their own hand sanitizer.
Archery is a fun and safe sport. If any archer feels unsafe, they may opt out at any time without penalty.
Isolation for Exposure or Close Contact
- Isolation for COVID 19: An athlete who has signs or symptoms of COVID 19, a known close contact, or an elevated temperature above 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be isolated from their team or activity until COVID 19 is ruled out.
- It is recommended that the athlete be seen by their healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant) and screened for common sources of fever (such as flu, strep throat, urinary tract infections, etc…) as well as a COVID 19 test.
- To return to activity the student needs three things:
- A minimum of 48 hours must pass from symptom onset or exposure.
- Documentation from a healthcare provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant) stating that the student has been screened and whether a COVID 19 test is warranted, and if tested what the results are.
- Absence of symptoms, without the use of medication to reduce their symptoms, for 24 hours
- If a student cannot be evaluated by a healthcare professional (physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant) in a timely manner, or chooses not to be evaluated or tested for whatever reason, they enter a mandatory 10 day quarantine for students considered positive for COVID 19 and are not allowed to participate.
- If a student has undergone COVID 19 testing, they are prohibited from participation until their test results return, regardless of symptoms.
Quarantine for COVID 19
Students who are positive for COVID 19 are prohibited from participating in MHSAA activities (practice or competition) for a period of 10 days from diagnosis.
- If exact symptom onset or exact date of exposure can be determined, this date can be used as the start date for the 10 day quarantine.
- If neither the exposure or the start of symptoms can be determined, then the date the student was tested (regardless of how long it took for results to return) is the date that the 10 day quarantine.
- Students or coaches will not be allowed to return to activity sooner than 10 days, including if they subsequently test negative before the 10 day quarantine is complete.
- At the discretion of the student’s physician, their quarantine can be extended beyond 10 days in the event of severe illness or ongoing symptoms.
Return to Play from COVID 19
Students who have been diagnosed with COVID 19 must meet these requirements to return to play
- Completion of the 10 day quarantine, with the last 3 days (72 hours) of the quarantine being symptom free including the absence of fever without fever reducing medication
- Return to play sooner than 10 day quarantine is not permitted,
- Repeat or serial testing in order to obtain negative test results to return to play sooner than completing the 10 day quarantine is not allowed.
- Neither a negative antigen or PCR nasal swab, nor serological evidence of antibodies should not be included as a requirement to return to play.
- A written release from a physician (MD or DO) must be provided. The level of workup required for release will vary depending on the severity of the infection and symptoms, and will be left to the discretion of the physician. It is recommended that they adhere to the NFHS and AMSSM Joint Statement on Cardiopulmonary Considerations for High School Student-Athletes, which will be posted to the MHSAA Website.
- It is recommended that students that have moderate to severe cases of COVID 19 undergo a 5 day re-acclimatization period prior to returning to full activity or participation in competition.
- If an athlete is confirmed via testing to have contracted COVID 19, not just presumed positive based on symptoms, fully recovers and returns to activity, then they are exempt from MANDATORY isolation, quarantine, and return to play protocols for COVID 19. Because there has yet to be a clinically proven case of reinfection in persons that have contracted and subsequently recovered from COVID 19, the care and quarantine of athletes that are show signs of illness but have been known to have previously had COVID 19 is left up to their physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant.
- If an athlete can show documentary proof of COVID 19 infection, which must include a COVID 19 swab test and not just a presumed infection, prior to the start of the 2020/2021 athletic season, they are similarly exempt as listed above.