TAMPA, Fla. - The Hillsborough County School District released its "Return to Athletics" plan, which calls for all sports to proceed -- but with a list of COVID-19 safety guidelines.
After revealing the plan late Tuesday night, Superintendent Addison Davis said there are some major points to follow.
"We understand the importance for student-athletes and extracurricular activities to be a part of what we do every single day in Hillsborough County," Davis told FOX 13. "I understand, right now, we're currently in this pandemic, so we had to make tough decisions that we usually wouldn't have to make."
Handshakes, high-fives and share water coolers are out. Social distancing, whenever possible, is in. Coaches will also have to track any possible COVID-19 cases.
One of the biggest new safety measure involves the crowd: student-athletes will only be allowed to have up to four pre-approved guests in the stands. Fans also must buy their tickets online before the game.
"We'll have social distancing in every one of our stadiums. We'll identify where every one of those individuals will be able to sit," said Davis, indicating this will help the district contract-trace if fans test positive for COVID-19 after a game. "We would love stakeholders, community members, students to come to every one of our games to cheer on all of our participants, but in the current situation they're in with the pandemic and COVID-19, we're just unable to do so."
For at least the first week of the season, cheerleaders and marching bands will not be traveling with football teams.
The superintendent said he plans to re-evaluate the guidelines after a week or two to determine whether there to be any adjustments.