Following the health and safety guidelines outlined by the Rhode Island Interscholastic League, the State of Rhode Island and the Centers for Disease Control, Providence Public Schools will offer high school sports in basketball, track and field, swimming and gymnastics this winter. Sign-ups and practices begin the week of January 4.
“Providence Public School District understands the high value sports bring to student development and wellness,” said Superintendent Harrison Peters. “We are taking great care to provide a structured environment with layers of precautions so students can participate in winter sports as safely as possible.”
Spectators will not be allowed in sporting events, with the exception of a designated night for families of senior athletes.
Mask wearing is mandatory for all sports. Practices will be limited to players and essential personnel, and whenever possible, workouts will be organized in stable pods to reduce opportunities for exposure. Games will be limited to players and essential personnel, all of whom will attest to being symptom-free and will undergo a touchless temperature check before admittance to a school building.
Locker rooms will not be available for use. Bench seating for players will be expanded to allow for social distancing.
Each school has designated athletic directors to be responsible for COVID-19 concerns for each team. Every athletic director has received supplies of masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE to support all teams.
For certain events requiring hand-held equipment, such as the hammer or shot put, the district has purchased enough equipment so that each student has his or her own gear to use during practices and meets. Basketballs will be cleaned between quarters. In track and field, high jump mats and blocks will be disinfected after each use.
Athletes will be responsible for bringing their own hydration containers that cannot be shared. Additionally, athletes will be advised to avoid unnecessary contact, including handshakes, fist bumps and high fives.
Athletes are required to get a PCR test for COVID-19 and isolate from all team activities if they display symptoms, are deemed a close contact to a positive case or are required to test in accordance with travel guidelines. At this writing, games will only take place within Rhode Island, and no out-of-state travel is planned.