MIAMI — Miami athletic director Chad Davis is ready to get prep sports rolling again on June 1.
During a special meeting Friday, May 23, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors voted 7-6 against a proposed three-phase plan to get athletics and other prep activities started back up.
Instead, schools now will be able to reboot all activities on June 1.
Davis said he met with his coaches’ council Friday afternoon and to put a plan of attack together.
“It will include some guidelines; health and safety precautions will be in place,” Davis said. “We will be altering groups, the times they come in and out. That will give us an opportunity to keep the head count down as far as how many kids we get in one area at one time and then to be able to rotate those groups and give us a 10-minute window where we can sanitize and wipe things down.
“It’s not just about our kids. It’s about the coaching staff and our custodial staff that will be in and out of the buildings as well.”
The OSSAA directors had voted in March to shut down all school-related activities were shut down through the end of the academic year.
That meant that the completion of the state basketball tournament and all spring sports were cancelled.
Each phase of the OSSAA proposal would have included numerous restrictions.
Phase 1 would run June 1-28 with Phase 2 running June 29 through July 31 and Phase 3 beginning Aug. 1.
Phases 2 and 3 set dates when specific sports would be allowed to start practicing.
“I didn’t get to watch the meeting, but my phone started blowing up after it was over,” said Commerce head football coach Steve Moss. “We’re going to use common sense and set up some guidelines. There definitely will be sanitizing going on; just do the right things. They (the OSSAA) were kinda extreme.
“It is great that we will get to see the kids again.”
Those voting no were Craig McVay of El Reno, Jason Sternberger of Kingfisher, Jerry Needham of Oktaha, Rusty Puffinbarger of Leedey, Rex Trent of Binger-Oney, Bryan McNutt of Antlers and Don Schneberger of Boone-Apache.
Those in favor were Rick Pool (Kiowa), Darren Melton (Lincoln Christian), Duane Merideth (Durant), Mike Simpson (Guthrie), Dr. Sean McDaniel (OKCPS) and Jerry Olanson (Glenpool).
“It’s a no-win situation. We’re not going to make everyone happy,” McNutt said. “The best thing we can do is operate in the best interest of our school children to provide for their safety and get them to where they do understand what may be facing coming back to school in the fall.”
There were more than 500 participants in the Zoom meeting that was attended by 14 of the association’s 15 directors.
The bulk of the 90-minute-plus meeting was spent discussing the “Phase-in Plan for Oklahoma Secondary Schools.”
“We’re flying blind, as a board and as staff, and we are flying blind as school administrators as well in lot of this stuff,” Simpson said during the discussion. “I feel this is the snow day decision that won’t end. It affects a lot of people.”
“I digested that (the plan) then went into attack mode,” Davis said.
“I was really shocked that they came out with nothing. But at the same time, it allows them to basically put the onus on each individual school district,” he said.
“The biggest thing is we want to give our kids the opportunity and resources to be able to get better. This is going to help them with the mental part of getting back into some sort of a schedule and rotation that they are used to. We’re going to do it the right way and make sure their health and safety is at the utmost importance.”
Davis said that if a positive case of COVID-19 were to pop up, things would be shut down for the recommended two weeks.
“We don’t want Miami to take a step backwards,” he said.
Davis has talked to several other ADs in the area to find out how each is handling the situation.
Plans are to do a lot of activities outdoors because the weight room is the biggest area of concern, he said.
“That has the potential to be a hot spot; but it is every summer for MRSA and anything else,” David said.
MRSA is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body.
“Our guys and girls have always done a great job of keeping our weight room sanitized and clean,” Davis said. “They do a great job of it.”
Davis said there would be no travel for Miami athletes during the month of June for summer-league basketball games, camps and 7-on-7 leagues in football or activities in other sports.
Following CDC recommendations, the temperature of every person that comes into a facility will be taken and the COVID-19 symptom checklist will be used.
“We feel that will take less than a minute per person so we can move them through there pretty quick,” Davis said.