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The E prepares for safe summer workouts

RESERVE — The Wildcat nation will commence summer workouts on June 8 with restrictions, according to Coach Brandon Brown.

Brown said the reopening of high school athletic facilities will include several precautions to foster a safe environment for coaches, student athletes, managers and their families.

Workouts will not be mandatory at this time. Screening/symptom monitoring, limitations on gatherings and physical activity, hygiene and hydration will be in place to limit the spread of illness.

“The No. 1 thing to understand is that our players’ safety is at the forefront of what we are trying to do,” Brown said.  “My coaches and I have been meeting through Zoom. If everything goes as planned, then our first game is not until September. We have to phase our guys in and get them back into shape. We are just going to take it slow and be mindful to understand just how important this thing is.”

While it is a difficult situation, Brown is looking at the positives. He believes working with student-athletes in small groups will give them the individualized attention they need to thrive on the football field this fall.

“By us breaking it down and working in pods of 10 to 15 kids at a time, I think we are going to find ourselves being better teachers. We’ll put the focus on those guys and give them more individual focus,” Brown said. “If everything goes as planned and we’re able to get going in the fall, I think our guys will have a better understanding of our expectations. You’re talking about a team with anywhere from 85 to 100 kids. When you break that down, our kids will be better in the long run.”

All students, coaches and managers will be screened for symptoms upon arrival to workouts. Those with a fever of 100.4 or above and those who show other COVID-19 symptoms will not be admitted into the facilities. Each individual will also be asked screening questions about symptoms and whether they have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. These responses will be recorded daily so there will be a record of everyone present in the event that a student-athlete tests positive for COVID-19.

While gatherings of up to 25 people, including adults, is allowable by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, East St. John will keep students in groups of 15 or less. Athletes must maintain a distance of at least six feet in the locker room, weight room, and during meetings. The same small group will always work out together to limit exposure to other individuals.

Adequate cleaning practices will be implemented for facilities, equipment and frequently touched surfaces before, during and after workouts.

Workouts will be modified to be less strenuous, according to Brown. Maximum lifts will be limited, and spotters will not be used.

“Our strength and conditioning coach does an excellent job with our core list of what we do in the weight room,” Brown said. “I think our biggest thing is limiting the amount of weight. We’ve got to be smart about that, especially since we’re not using any spotters, and get good quality reps in everything that we do. We’ll make sure we have safe amounts for all kids at all times.”

While in the weight room, students are not allowed to share towels, clothing or shoes. Hydration stations such as water fountains and coolers will not be used, and students must bring their own water bottle.

The arrival times Monday through Thursday will be 8 a.m. for 10th – 12th grade offense, 9:30 a.m. for 10th – 12th grade defense, and 10:30 a.m. for all freshman football players.

Brown said volleyball will be the next sport to phase into summer workouts. More sports will follow as restrictions are lifted.

“We’re going to limit as much contact as possible until we get further guidance. Even when we move into Phase III, we will continue to limit contact as much as possible,” Brown said.

Sports have a positive impact on school culture, Brown said. He looks forward to bringing back all athletics when the timing is right.

For more information, email bbrown@stjohn.k12.la.us