Northern Lehigh approves athletic plan
Student-athletes in the Northern Lehigh School District can soon begin voluntary summer workouts.
At a special meeting on Monday, the board approved the athletics health and safety plan, aligned to the PDE Preliminary Guidance for Phased Reopening of Pre-K to 12 Schools.
“This is a plan required by the Department of Education which must be approved by the school board to allow our sports activities to begin here in the district again,” Superintendent Matthew J. Link said.
Athletic Director Bryan Geist said the plan will be posted on the district’s website. Geist added that for the athletic teams, “these workouts are voluntary, they are not mandatory.”
Geist then went into detail about some of the procedures Northern Lehigh will follow.
“All the athletes will report to Bulldog Stadium,” he said. “There will be QR codes that will be on the board. They’re squares in which athletes will take their camera, they’ll point it at that QR square, and it will bring it up to an evaluation form. At that particular point, all of our athletes will self evaluate.
“That will be tracked by our athletic trainers to make sure all of our athletes are healthy coming in. Once they come in, they will be scanned with thermal scanners.”
Geist said the numbers will be logged by the trainers.
“Since we are in summer, some athletes can run a little bit higher with their skin temperature,” he said. “(Because of that) we will have an appeal process and use an oral thermometer for any athlete that’s showing an abnormally high temperature and no other visible symptoms of illness.
“If the athlete does look ill, or has an abnormally high temperature, we will seat them outside the stadium and not grant them entrance. We will then have them contact their parents for pick up.”
Inside the stadium, Geist said only one team will be permitted on the turf at a time.
“As soon as the workouts are done, they must vacate the stadium,” he said. “Teams checking in will be stationed in the home bleachers until the turf has been cleared, and our coaches will supervise that.”
Geist said athletes will also be encouraged to bring their own water.
“We are asking them to bring two gallons of water,” Geist said. “This is a recommendation from the Department of Health that everyone brings their own drinks.”
Northern Lehigh also has a plan in place if any student/athlete contracts COVID-19.
“If an athlete or parent contacts the school district (about a positive test result), we are going to cancel that particular team’s workouts for three days,” he said.
Since workouts are only being Mondays through Thursdays, Geist said that means more or less an entire week without practice for that particular team.
Workouts will be conducted through July and early August until official PIAA practices start in mid-August.
“We’re going to educate our athletes, we’re going to educate our coaches, and we’re going to move forward anticipating that we‘re going to be in full green that we can actually have a normal practice outside in mid-August,” he said.
Geist thanked St. Luke’s University Health Network, along with the administration, for their help in designing and implementing the plan, adding “it was a team effort.”