NEW ORLEANS – On Monday morning, Dr. Avegno and CEO of the New Orleans Recreation Department discussed how high school sports will move forward under the Phase III reopening plan.
“Today, we are announcing the reopening of the City’s playgrounds and that sports, including high school football, will be allowed to resume in Orleans Parish. Given that contact sports carry risk of transmission not only to other athletes but their coaching staff, fellow students, family members and the community, the City undertook an extensive health and safety review to ascertain how to mitigate these risks,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, Director, New Orleans Health Department. “The City has worked with local and state health experts as well as the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA), and has created a ‘Return to Play’ task force of local school administrators and facilities directors to develop a comprehensive set of protocols to reduce risk.”
Regulations will include:
- Student and coaching screening protocols and restrictions on play
- Strict regulations for on-field activity, including masking, distancing, limiting personnel, benches, locker rooms, and team transportation
- Sanitizing and hygiene practices
- Isolation and quarantine protocols for athletes and their contacts that mirror CDC guidelines
- An athlete code of conduct to help limit high risk behavior off the field
- Access to testing
“I’d like to thank the leaders standing here today for their time, support and commitment to our youth and the City of New Orleans. This task force, which includes representatives from City Park, NOLA Public Schools, our local Charter School Networks, Catholic and private high schools across the City of New Orleans, is ready and prepared to do the work necessary to return the City of New Orleans to contact sports again, safely,” said NORD CEO Larry Barabino, Jr., who will head the task force. “We will work together to ensure the approved Return to Play plan is followed and that safety remains a top priority.”
“It is my hope that these restrictions will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 among our student-athletes, and importantly, among the family members they go home to,” said Dr. Avegno.
In alignment with restrictions on other timed, seated events in Orleans Parish, spectators will be limited:
- Stadiums will be allowed to host 25 percent of permitted occupancy or 250 individuals, whichever is fewer.
- Indoor gymnasiums will be limited to 25 percent of permitted occupancy or 100 individuals, whichever is fewer.
- In all contexts, everyone must wear masks and socially distance.
- Per the Governor’s emergency order, alcohol sales at sporting events will not be allowed.
Dr. Avegno reiterated that uncontrolled crowds pose a significant risk of superspreading. If residents attend to spectate, they are still encouraged to keep a safe distance and stay away from others, and wear a mask at all times.
Beginning today, NORD will work to put back up its outdoor goals, and backboards, reopen its recreation centers, unstaffed parks and playgrounds. More information on today’s announcement, and what will open under the revised guidelines, will be available on the NORD website, and on its social media channels.
“We look forward to retuning to play safely in the City of New Orleans and rely on everyone to do their part by adhering to the rules, and safety guidelines put in place,” said CEO Barabino.