Low risk sports begin Jan. 19: View a letter from the Athletic Director

Dear Gladiator Nation,

As per the approval from New York State, Section IX Athletics and the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA), schools in Orange County may begin low and moderate risk sports on January 19. In terms of what that means for us, we will begin our Indoor Track, Boys Swimming and Diving, Bowling and Alpine Ski programs on January 19.

To ensure the safety and protection of all, several guidelines will be in place for all team practices. These guidelines are consistent with the latest recommendations and protocols from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Orange County Department of Health (OCDOH), the New York State Dept. of Health (NYSDOH) Section IX Athletics, and the Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA).

The guidelines for team practices will include:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Athletes, coaches, and trainers are required to wear a face shield at all times.
  • Athletes may remove their face shield only when a face shield cannot be physically tolerated during periods of high-intensity physical activity.

Practicing Outdoors

  • Despite the colder temperatures over the winter months, all teams will look to practice outdoors to the greatest extent possible (weather permitting).
  • In addition to being a safer option in terms of virus transmission, the outdoor areas can better accommodate a larger number of athletes and coaches (up to 50).

Practicing Indoors

  • When practicing indoors is necessary, the number of individuals permitted at one time will be limited so that the 6-foot social distancing rule can be maintained at all times. As a general rule, indoor practices will be limited to roughly 15 people (depending on the size of the space). If proper social distancing is not feasible in an indoor space with 15 people, the number of individuals must decrease until proper social distancing can be achieved.

No Spectators Rule

  • For safety reasons, all practice sessions are open only to student-athletes, coaches, the athletic trainer and other authorized school personnel. No outside guests or spectators will be permitted to attend practice.
  • GCSD will follow all future guidance from state and local authorities regarding spectators at its athletic events. .

Social Distancing

  • A minimum of 6 feet of distance between individuals is required at all times unless for safety reasons or the core activity itself requires a shorter distance.
  • To the greatest extent possible, coaches will structure practice and its components so that a minimum of 6 feet of distance between individuals can be maintained.

Sharing of Equipment/Supplies

  • To the greatest extent practical, student-athletes will use solely their own equipment and supplies. This includes water bottles, towels, protective equipment, etc..
  • Participants are to bring their own clothing, water, equipment, etc. and not share items with others.

Daily Screening and Temperature Check for Student-Athletes

  • All student-athletes are required to participate in a daily screening that includes a brief questionnaire and temperature check.  Coaches will administer the daily screening questionnaire and temperature check to each athlete. Contactless temperature scanners will be provided to each coach.
  • Coaches must keep accurate daily attendance records of all individuals at each practice. These daily attendance records must be submitted (electronically or hard-copy) to Athletic Trainer Jon Roerden on a daily basis.
  • Any individual presenting one or more of the related symptoms of COVID-19 and/or a body temperature of more than 100.0 degrees (F) will not be permitted to join practice and is required to leave campus.
  • Coaches are permitted to deliver the daily screening questionnaire to their athletes in a virtual format only if approved by the Athletic Director.

Daily Screening and Temperature Checks for Coaches

  • All coaches must participate in the daily screening questionnaire and temperature check. This daily screening for coaches will be facilitated by Athletic Trainer, Jon Reorden. The daily screening questionnaire for coaches may be completed virtually.


  • It is highly recommended, however and whenever possible, that coaches group student-athletes into “cohorts” during practice. Using cohorts will limit the exposure in the event someone develops an infection. Coaches may choose to stagger the start and end times of practice for groups of athletes or strategically group the same athletes together for each practice.

Use of Locker Rooms

  • As per guidance from Section IX Athletics, locker rooms will be used by student-athletes solely for changing purposes.
  • If a student-athlete requires the locker room to change, the expectation is that student-athletes do so in a timely manner (a few minutes).
  • To comply with current social distancing guidelines, a maximum of 10 athletes will be allowed in the locker room at one time. Athletes wishing to utilize the locker room will be required to wear proper face coverings while inside the locker room as well as maintain a proper social distance from others.
  •  A sign-in/sign-out sheet will be posted outside the locker room daily. Student-athletes will be required to sign-in and sign-out of the locker room upon arriving and exiting the locker room. This will be done so that an accurate contact trace can be performed in the event it is necessary.


  • Hand sanitizer will be made available to coaches and athletes. Coaches and athletes are highly encouraged to use hand sanitizer before, during and after each practice session.
  • Disinfecting wipes, sprays, etc. will also be made available to coaches and athletes. Equipment and supplies are to be adequately sanitized at the conclusion of practice on a daily basis.
  • Athletic Trainer, Jon Roerden will facilitate the acquisition of disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer and other necessary cleaning supplies for coaches.

Guidelines for Before and After Practice

  • Student-athletes will be expected to arrive and depart practice promptly to avoid any unnecessary congregating on-campus.
  • Student-athletes are encouraged to attend 10th period with a teacher for academic help before the start of practice
  • Any athlete waiting for the start of practice who is not attending 10th period with a teacher is encouraged to sit socially-distanced in the gymnasium until the start of practice

With the many safety precautions we have in place, I am very confident we can begin a return to normalcy in terms of our athletic programs. The safety of our student-athletes and coaches will always be our highest priority.

We will continue to await further guidance and information from New York State regarding the possible start date for “high risk” sports. Any information we receive will be made available to you as we receive it.

If you have questions, or would like to discuss any of the information contained in this document, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

I wish you nothing but the best, and I hope to see you all again very soon. Go, Gladiators!


Dr. Matthew O’Brien
Director of Athletics