All Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) member schools were given the green light last week to begin their summer athletic activities under a regulation approved by the Delaware State Board of Education.

During a meeting on Wednesday, June 24, the DIAA Board of Directors met and determined that adoption of an emergency regulation was necessary to protect the physical wellbeing of its member schools’ student-athletes.

It was also determined that the DIAA needed to promote healthy adolescent lifestyles during the state-of-emergency, and the adoption of the emergency regulation was recommended to the Department of Education, subject to the State Board of Education’s approval.

The board relied on guidance from the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the DIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (DSMAC), as well as the governor’s state-of-emergency orders for the creation of the related emergency regulation.

Locally, Indian River High School Athletic Director Todd Fuhrmann has more specific regulations for his student-athletes for which he is still awaiting approval (as of Coastal Point’s deadline midweek) from new Indian River School District Superintendent Jack F. “Jay” Owens to implement. Fuhrmann met with Owens in a meeting earlier this week.

“I can tell you that we are hoping to start the week of July 13, and details will follow,” Fuhrmann stated. “It will be outdoor conditioning, only to provide some sort of normalcy, if possible, but we are waiting for district approval to start. All details will be sent out to IR athletes through social media and on the website once approval has been granted.”

The DIAA’s emergency regulation went into effect on Wednesday, July 1; however, the Board made a separate motion at the meeting on June 24 that the DIAA Return to Play Stage 3 would not start until this past Monday, July 6. Member schools that had approval from their own districts were able to begin summer activities on Monday, July 6.

According to a press release, “the DIAA Return to Play Plan has general guidance that applies to all stages. Stages are different from Delaware’s economic reopening phases. DIAA Board of Directors will determine the stage member schools should follow in consultation with DPH so the recommended stage aligns with the state’s order and DPH guidance.”

DIAA member schools were to take note of Regulation 1010, which might consist of stricter requirements than DPH guidelines. Those requirements are meant to protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff, officials, and spectators, with the focus on limiting the potential further spread of COVID-19.

Member schools’ summer activities that are permissible under the DIAA Return to Play Stage 3 include coaching out of season, workouts, conditioning programs and open gym programs. Workouts, conditioning programs and open gym programs may be held indoors or outdoors. If a member school has an open gym program indoors, groups should cohort to limit the number of people to whom group members are exposed.

All activities are subject to the limitations and requirements for Stage 3 in the emergency regulation, Regulations 1009 (High School Regulations) and 1008 (Junior High & Middle School Regulations), the Delaware Division of Public Health’s guidelines, and the State’s orders.

The DIAA has vowed to continue to work closely with its member school administrators, their athletic directors and its sport committees, as well as the state officials’ associations, and the DIAA SMAC, in consultation with DPH for recommendations. They will also make adjustments to the their Return to Play Plan for summer activities and sports seasons during the academic year.

Specific details (start dates, safety measures for resuming practice and competition, regular season schedules and championships) for sports will be discussed during the upcoming DIAA Board of Director’s meetings in July and August. The DIAA went on to say that they remain committed to administering sports for the 2020 fall season, which all hinges on whether it can be done so safely in accordance with guidance from the State and DPH.

The DIAA has asked that, as student-athletes and coaches begin to participate in permissible summer activities, everyone makes sure to adhere to the health and safety measures that are outlined in the Return to Play Plan, practice social distancing and wear a mask.

The DIAA’s Regulation 1010 was basically established to protect the physical wellbeing of its member schools’ student-athletes, while helping to promote a healthy adolescent lifestyle. The new regulation applies to all DIAA member schools during the public health emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on Regulation 1010, check out the Department of Education’s DIAA website at doe.k12.de.us.

Staff Reporter

Jason has been in journalism for 20 years. He moved to Coastal Delaware in August 2017 with his wife, Jessica, and their daughters, Kylie, 17, and Grace, 12. He has a passion for high-school sports and especially values the relationships that builds.