Athletic Teams & Community COVID-19 Protocols & Expectations

Monday, August 24, 2020

St. Pius X Catholic High School Athletic Program Guidelines

Related to COVID-19

August 10, 2020

The following guidance is intended to update the St. Pius X Catholic High School (SPX) Infectious Disease Plan established at the request of the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) and approved by the Archdiocese of Atlanta (AoA) for summer training.

The additions and/or changes reflect current SPX school guidelines as well as guidance from the GHSA, the AoA, and in continued best practices guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE), local health officials through the DeKalb County Board of Health (BOH), and the City of Chamblee.  All SPX school and athletic guidelines related to COVID-19 as well as the guidance in this document should be observed for all sports activities organized by entities, associations, clubs, or organizations, that are using or renting Catholic school campuses.

Athletic guidelines will follow already established SPX school guidelines wherever relevant. The following may be updated at any time based on new guidance provided by the above organizations and approved by the AoA.


 Participation  and  Assumption  of  Risk

1.   Each athlete and their parents must complete an Assumption of Risk provided by SPX with guidance from the Archdiocese of Atlanta to proceed with in person learning.

2.   At the discretion of the school (SPX), athletes who choose distance learning may participate in athletics and extracurricular activities provided the student maintains satisfactory compliance with the school’s (SPX) online expectations.  Failure to comply may result in loss of the athletes ability to participate while attending school remotely.

3.   Staff or coaches who teach within the AoA must be in school (in person) to participate.

4.   Should the entire school begin a phase of virtual learning, athletics may be suspended. Participation, in this case, will be determined in collaboration with the Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

5.   All athletes are required to have a current athletic physical on file to participate.


 Screening  Procedure  Prior  to  August  12  (Before  school  begins)

1.   Parents should be reminded weekly to communicate with and observe their athletes. Athletes with any symptoms consistent with COVID-19 should stay home and contact their physician.

2.   With the obvious priority of starting school in person, as well as the strong desire for fall sports to continue, parents should be reminded weekly to do all they and their athlete can do to limit or eliminate unnecessary travel and gatherings in order to minimize risks for exposure.  Parents and athletes should be encouraged to wear masks in public areas.

3.   Athletes should arrive for training/workouts in shifts to assist with social distancing.

4.   Athletes must have and utilize masks in all indoor areas and public areas.  Masks are required before screening takes place

5.   Upon arrival each athlete should be asked:

         a.   Do you have any symptoms consistent with COVID-19? (Based on summer GHSA protocol)

         b.   Does anyone in your immediate family have COVID-19 or have symptoms

         c.   Surface temperatures taken (not to exceed 100.0)  If surface temperature exceeds 100.0, remove the athlete from sun/heat and retest.  If the reading is similar let athletes continue to rest in a shaded area for 5 minutes or air conditioned area and test again using an oral                             thermometer.

        d.   Athletes with confirmed temperature of 100.0 or greater, symptoms, or suspected contact in immediate family should be sent home for isolation and directed to contact their physician immediately

        e.      Report of this case should be made to the athletic trainer and school nurse for notification to the appropriate health authorities

6.   Daily screening records will be kept on file with the School Nurse and Athletic Trainer.

Screening  Once  School  is  In  Session

1.   All students are required to be screened prior to entrance at school per SPX and AoA guidelines

2.   Continue with #1 and #2 listed in the previous section

3.   After school

        a.   Athletes will arrive to locker facilities in shifts per head coach plan
        b.   Masks are required in locker and equipment areas

4.   Students not in school must be fully screened upon arrival to campus. (Above in Bold)

5.   Please note, all spectators, volunteers, and game day event staff must be fully screened and have a mask prior to admission to any event on the campus of St. Pius X Catholic High School.


Protocol  for  Isolation  and  Quarantine

1.    If an Athlete/Staff member tests positive:

        a.   Isolation of 10 days.  Isolation begins the date of first symptoms per physicians guidance

        b.   Athlete/staff member may return after 10 days with physicians clearance

        c.   Report of the case must be made to the Athletic Trainer and School Nurse for notification to the appropriate health authorities.

        d.   The athlete/staff member may return earlier than 10 days with written clearance from their physician.

        e.   The GHSA requires athletes to acclimate upon return

2.   If an athlete/staff member has symptoms

        a.   The Athlete/staff member must isolate and see a physician immediately.  The athlete/staff member must then follow physician guidance.

        b.   The athlete/staff member may return per physician’s release and once all release documentation is on file with the athletic trainer and school nurse.

3.   For athletes/staff members who may have been in primary contact with or exposed to a case or suspected case outside of their immediate family.

        a.   Contact Defined:

              i.      Within 6 feet and without a mask for 15 minutes or more. These contacts include teammates, coaches, and trainers.

             ii.      Someone who shared eating utensils, was directly coughed upon or sneezed upon.

            iii.      Tracing potential contact begins 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms iv.      Primary contact  quarantine per CDC guidelines.  Consult a physician immediately.

4.   Athletes exposed by immediate family members

       a.   If an athlete/staff member is exposed to COVID-19 by an immediate family member they are immediately isolated and subject to their physician’s care as well as  guidelines for return

       b.   The athlete/staff member may return with written clearance from their physician. i.      Physician clearance must be on file with the Athletic Trainer and School Nurse.

       c.   Re-aclimitization may be required per GHSA guidelines

Use  of  Masks

1.    It is a well established best practice to utilize protective masks.  Athletes, coaches, and support staff should arrive with a mask and utilize that mask inside buildings, locker rooms, and meeting rooms.

2.   It is required that all coaches and trainers wear masks.  Athletes need to maintain social distance whenever possible. Masks are required except during competition, practice, or strength training for athletes but may be worn if requested.

3.   Masks are required for all personnel and athletes in the weightroom.  This includes spotters.  Masks may be taken off during exertion.  Side spotting must continue.

4.   Masks are required for all spectators, volunteers, and event personnel.  This includes fans, gate and concession workers, security, parking personnel, and all who access or utilize the press box.



1.    Until further notice and per GHSA guidelines, each athlete and coach is required to have their own personal bottle/jug of water at all team activities.  Coaches and athletic trainers may use portable hydration units to refill an athletes personal bottle/jug. Athletes are required to open and reseal their own bottle.  Periodically during contests, teams may provide bottled electrolytes or bottled water to athletes in sealed plastic bottles.


Personal  Equipment  and  Laundry

1.    Athletes must take all personal and team issued cloth items home and launder them daily.  Coaches may require protective and contact equipment and pads be left in the locker facility and disinfected per GHSA guidelines.  Each head coach will have a prepared plan for social distancing within locker facilities including staggering team members appropriately.  Masks are required for all athletes, coaches, and support staff in locker facilities.


 GHSA  Specific  Guidance  by  Sport

1.    Each sport head coach has been given specific guidance and rule changes related specifically to their sport.  Each head coach will implement all mandatory rules changes set forth by the GHSA or National Federation Office.  GHSA guidance documents provided specifically to each sport will be added to the appendix of this document.  Head coaches are responsible for the most current GHSA expectations.

2.   GHSA updates are fluid.  The most current guidance is expected.


 Protocol  for  Team  Travel,  Travel  Party  size,  Meals

1.   Bus travel will require social distancing when possible.  If resources do not allow preferred spacing, athletes and staff should utilize the same seat for both the “to” and “from” positions of the trip.   Using  the  same  seat  is  required  even  if  seating  allows appropriate  social  distance.

2.   Masks are required on all bus trips

3.   Team meals while away should not include dining in.  Restaurants should be used for carry out only and should consist of pre-packaged items only.  Having team meals outside is encouraged at all times.  Avoid consuming food on buses.

4.   Food delivered to buses must be distributed by those wearing masks

5.   Pre-game meal locations must have the ability to social distance.

6.   Meals on campus must have locations and methods approved by the Director of Facilities.

7.   Teams should consider limiting travel party sizes to assist with social distancing.

8.   Parents transporting athletes to and from events must be approved by the specific head coach and the athletic director.

9.   Head coaches should communicate all visiting school protocols to athletes, support staff, and families as quickly as possible.


Protocol  for  visiting  teams

1.   Visiting teams will be required to adhere to SPX guidelines for attendance in all contest areas.  Guidelines are to be followed for varsity, sub-varsity, and MS contests.

2.   SPX Ticket Gates open 1 hour prior to the events scheduled start time.

3.   Visiting teams and travel parties must be screened prior to departing their school.

4.   Visiting locker facilities will be provided if requested.  It is the responsibility of the visiting team to maintain appropriate social distancing and mask requirements.

5.   Visiting teams must provide their own hydration per CDC and GHSA guidance.

6.   Event attendance for varsity contests is limited to immediate family members of players equipped to participate in that specific contest

7.   Immediate family includes parents, step parents, and siblings of the participant or coach

     a.   This includes sub-varsity and middle school events

8.   Every individual in attendance at an SPX event must be fully screened prior to admission to the contest site.

9.   Social distancing is required

10. Masks are required for attendance and on the sidelines


11. No one other than contestants (includes cheer), coaches, athletic trainers, officials, and school administrators are permitted at field level.

12. Each visiting team is required to submit a roster that includes all contestants participating, cheerleaders participating, team personnel, and school administrators. The roster should include the names of immediate family members attending the event. Only individuals on this list will be eligible to purchase a ticket to the event.  No substitutions may be made.  (For example if a parent does not attend, the neighbor may not use that ticket)

13. Visiting bands are not permitted

14. Visiting Dance Teams are not permitted

15. Visiting Spirit Cheer squads are permitted but no stunting of any type is allowed at St. Pius X events.

16. Only game operations personnel, home and away coaching staff, home and away video, and broadcast crews are permitted to enter the playing area, press box, and team areas. Screening and masks are required.

17. Limited concessions will be available. Check Card or Credit Card only.


 Protocol  for  sideline/bench/dugout  access  and  management

1.   Social distancing should be maintained.  (Per GHSA the sideline may be extended for players)

2.   Teams, coaches, team support staff, officials, and school administrators only are permitted to have access to the fields or courts.  Cheerleaders may utilize the track.

3.   Coaches and support staff are to utilize masks in the coaches boxes/bench areas.

4.   Team areas may be altered per GHSA guidance to assist with social distancing

5.   Press/ Photography must have permission from the Director of Athletics to enter.  Due to extended team boxes, access will be restricted.

6.   All extended game personnel such as chain crews are required to be screened and wear masks.


 Protocol  for  Contest  Management  and  Home  Fans

    a.   Ticketing procedure

           Ticket Gate opens at 1 hour prior to the scheduled event start time

           SPX will Touchless/no cash.  Check cards or credit cards only

          We will use a home pass list and visitor pass list created by each head coach. Signs regarding COVID-19 symptoms will be placed at the gate.  I do not believe we have the personnel to check temperatures of fans

    b.   Crowd size and social distancing

         Based on current guidance, immediate family of coaches, players and cheerleaders participating in that specific event are permitted if the venue allows expected social distancing.   Immediate  family  includes  parents,  step-parents,  and  siblings  of  the  participants.

        ●    Special situations may be brought to the athletic director by the head varsity coach.

        Social distancing is required throughout the stadium.  No gathering on the mezzanine.  Masks are required.

        Faculty and staff may attend if part of the contest management group

    c.   Concessions

           Credit card purchases only.  Menu scaled back to prepackaged items only.  No cooking is permitted.  Chick-fil-A is approved as a pre-packaged food.  Bottled drinks only.  Screening and masks are required.

          Venues may have no concessions available.

    d.   Spirit Cheer squads and Bands

          Bands are not permitted.  However, with masks and social distancing, drum lines are approved.

          Spirit Cheer squads are permitted.  Social distancing is a must at all times.  Until further notice, stunting of any kind is prohibited.  Dance teams are not permitted.

    e.   Security

         Security will be staffed  by Chamblee PD, DeKalb County PD, administration and parent volunteers.  Screening and masks are required.  Volunteers will also be utilized for access to the playing surfaces.  Volunteers may be utilized to assist in screening.

    f.    Press Box protocol with social distancing and masks

         Only game operations personnel, home and away coaching staff, home and away video, and broadcast crews are permitted to enter. Screening and masks are required.

    g.   Field Access

         Field access is restricted.  Players, coaches, support staff, school administrators and officials only.  All media access must be approved by the athletic director. Due to social distancing guidelines and GHSA extended team areas approved

         access will be limited to the end zones for football, balcony area for volleyball, and outside the fences for softball.  All media must be approved prior to arrival and fully screened.

    h.   Parking and security volunteers and use of masks

          Far less volunteers will be needed in this phase.  Volunteers should be redirected to assist with screening and social distancing in the stands.  Screening and masks are required.

    i.    Parking Lots

        While in this phase, reserved parking through booster club membership or sponsorship will be maintained if purchased by parents.


    j.    Screening protocol and all SPX guidelines must be followed for varsity, sub-varsity, and middle school contests as well as practices at all levels.


Practice attendance

Until further notice, SPX practices, at all levels, are closed.  Parents and spectators are not permitted at any SPX practices other than to drop off and pick up athletes. Parents should remain with their cars until their athlete is ready to leave.

No pick up or drop offs are permitted in the Plaster Road Lot (Gravel Lot)

Middle  School  Participation

Middle school seasons should pause until further notice.  Per AoA guidance, contests for MS may begin after Labor Day (September 7th, 2020).  Practices may begin August 17. Picture Days may continue as scheduled.

ALL MIDDLE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES ARE SUBJECT TO SPX SCHOOL AND ATHLETICS GUIDANCE/ EXPECTATIONS.  This includes screening procedures, record and reporting expectations, practice attendance guidelines, mask, social distance, hydration, and field access guidelines.



St. Pius X Catholic High School reserves the right to decline hosting any athletic/sport events, programs, leagues on its campus during this pandemic.  Should this be necessary, SPX will contact all parties as soon as possible.


Community or Group Notification and Communication

Per HIPAA guidelines, communication regarding any case, suspected case, or case investigation will be completed in compliance with State and County Health Department guidelines, only.


 Additional  Guidance,  Updates  or  Changes

The AoA and St. Pius X Officials will continue to closely monitor GHSA, CDC, state, and local health recommendations.  The current situation is fluid and subject to change with AoA approval.

Approved by SPX in consultation with the Archdiocese of Atlanta.   August 10, 2020