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2020-21 Track and Field Considerations for COVID – Updated

2020-21 Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Considerations

In support of the Guidance for Opening Up High School Athletics and Activities, the NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee offers this document for state associations to consider whether any possible rules could be altered for the 2020-21 season. The considerations outlined in this document are meant to decrease potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging social 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, city, 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. Lastly, the situation with Covid-19 is rapidly changing. These considerations may quickly become outdated. Please keep up with the latest from the CDC and other health officials in your state.


Return to Competition

General Considerations:


  • SP, DT, JT should enforce social distancing for all athletes and officials.
    • To limit contact: athletes can provide their own implements (that pass inspection) and retrieve their own implements after all throws.
    • If athletes can’t provide their own implements, then it is recommended that implements be sanitized between each use.
  • LJ, TJ should enforce social distancing for all athletes and officials.
  • HJ, PV should enforce social distancing for all athletes and officials.
    • To limit contact: athletes should not share vaulting poles.
  • Sprint, Hurdle, relay events run entirely in lanes, may use every other lane to assist with distancing.
    • Blocks should be disinfected after each heat / race.
  • Recommendations for students to wear a cloth facial covering when not actively competing.
  • Middle Distance and distance races on the track of 800m and longer (any event not run entirely in lanes) are considered moderate risk activities if conducted under normal circumstances.


Possible Rule Change Considerations:


  • Rule 5-10-5 Current rule: The baton is the implement which is used in a relay race and is handed by each competitor to a succeeding teammate.
    • States may permit the use of gloves for this year.
    • Schools can bring their own batons, or they should be disinfected after each heat/race.

Considerations for Officials:

  • Bring personal hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently
  • Don’t share equipment.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines:
    • Pre and Post Meet conferences,
    • Clerking at the start line,
    • Tabulations and posting of results.
  • Consider using electronic whistle.
  • Do not shake hands and follow pre- and post-game ceremony guidelines established by state associations.
  • Officials personnel may always wear cloth face coverings.


Considerations for Coaches:

  • Communicate your guidelines 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.
  • Keep accurate records of those athletes and staff who attend each practice in case contact tracing is needed.


Considerations for Students:

  • Consider making each student responsible for their own supplies
  • Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout immediately upon returning home.
  • Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices.
  • Athletes should tell coaches immediately when they are not feeling well.
  • Cloth face coverings are permitted.
  • Bring your own labeled water bottle.
  • No mask no entry.


Considerations for Parents:

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

  • Make sure your child and immediate household members are without symptoms of from illness before participating in practice and competition (if there is doubt stay home),
  • Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.
  • No mask no entry.



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