York-Adams League athletic directors working on proposals to begin offseason workouts

Central York's Macon Myers handles the ball with teammate   Sam Czech defending during lacrosse practice at the school Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Bill Kalina photo
  • The state has given high schools permission to begin athletic activities again.
  • Each school must first have a health and safety plan approved by its school board.
  • Eastern York hopes to have its plan approved Tuesday and start activities June 22.

York-Adams League sports teams know they’re allowed to practice, but they just don’t know exactly when the workouts will start.

Gov. Tom Wolf released guidance for schools in the green and yellow phases of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan on Wednesday. York County enters the green phase on Friday, which means a safe return to team activities is possible for the first time in three months.

Gov. Tom Wolf: PIAA sports can resume, but on a limited basis

The problem with the guidelines from Wolf are that they offer no definitive date for when teams can begin offseason workouts. Originally, schools were told by the PIAA they could begin practices on July 1, but under this new plan, once a school gets its athletic health and safety plan approved by its school board, activities can resume.

Local athletic directors said they heard that the PIAA might be sending out a template for schools to use when creating their proposals, but no such document was received by Thursday afternoon.

“It would have been nice if we all had the same plan,” Eastern York athletic director Don Knaub said. “It would have been easier if there were one standard document or template and fill in what works at our school.”

Eastern York's returning ace pitch Maelynn Leber gets her first throws of the year during the first official day of practice, Monday, March 2, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Knaub plans to present his proposal to his school board at its meeting on Tuesday and hopes that if it’s approved, the Golden Knights can get back on the field on June 22. His proposal to the school board on Tuesday will only include precautions to ensure athletes can begin offseason activities. Knaub said he will submit another plan later to the school board that includes the fall sports seasons.

Central York athletic director Marty Trimmer’s proposal will include the fall and offseason precautions and he doesn’t envision being able to have the proposal ready before Monday’s school board meeting. Trimmer hopes the school board will be able to coordinate another meeting later in June to vote on the proposal so the Panthers’ athletes can practice once all safety measures have been taken.

“I think we need to get this right, right from the beginning,” Trimmer said. “My biggest concern is that our kids are safe. I believe you need to take precautions. I don’t think you can go too far.” 

Central York lacrosse players run a drill during practice, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Bill Kalina photo

Knaub and Trimmer both said part of their proposals include plans for acquiring necessary items, such as infrared thermometers for each coach to ensure athletes and coaches aren't ill during team activities. Knaub added that all athletes will have their temperature taken before practice.

While some may think the guidelines from Wolf — that include separate water bottles, no chewing gum/sunflower seeds, spitting or high fives — are excessive, Knaub and Trimmer were in agreement that it’s best to be too protective of the athletes in the beginning and ease restrictions when the time is right.

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“You have to have something in place that’s strict,” Knaub said. “It’s easier to back off than it is to tighten the reins and start off too lenient. As things get better, hopefully they do sooner than later, you can back things off.”

While the schools are required to create and submit their own plans to their respective school boards, Trimmer and Knaub said the Y-A League athletic directors have been in talks with each other in hopes that each school can safely and effectively get offseason activities started as soon as possible.

Both athletic directors said they have had conversations with coaches and parents about how important it is to wait until the proposals have been approved by their school boards and that they follow the guidelines of the PIAA and the governor’s office. 

Eastern York's Lauren Breault makes to throw to first base during infield drills on the first official day of practice, Monday, March 2, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

While workouts won’t look or feel like they used to, at least for a little while, Knaub said if coaches and players want to get back out on the field and continue to practice, they must adjust to the new sports world after the  COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everybody understands that these are the times right now, this is what we have to do in order to have athletics, so we’re going to have to spend extra time doing those types of things,” Knaub said.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.