Modified opening greets athletes

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Monett schools opened Monday with new regulations regarding how students will participate in summer programs. Ethan Umfleet and his fellow athletes were finally allowed back in the weight room. Kyle Troutman/

Monett announces new rules for summer athletes

The summer weight lifting session finally began on Monday for Monett athletes, as the district opened for the first time since it was shuttered due to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

“First off, we have smaller class sizes to aid in social distancing,” said Daryl Bradley, Monett athletic director. “We are stressing the six-foot distancing guidelines and are frequently sanitizing equipment.”

Students are required to bring water bottles and towels from home, and a strict no sharing policy is being enforced.

“We are not allowing students to congregate before or after class,” Bradley said. “We want them to show up and then depart. We are doing our absolute best to provide a safe environment and follow all the recommended safety guidelines.”

While these guidelines apply to those students enrolled in summer weight conditioning, Bradley said the the school’s athletes will see a slightly different approach to the summer.

“Our athletes are going to slowly ease back into the process,” Bradley said. “We will not be hosting or attending any camps or seven-on-seven scrimmages this summer. Teams are allowed to drill, but there cannot be any type of contact drills in practice.”

Bradley used the illustration of the football team being allowed to run routes with the quarterback and wide receiver, but not allowed to use a defensive back in coverage.

“One thing I want to stress and something I have talked to our coaches about is that if an athlete does not feel safe attending a summer practice, there will be no repercussions,” Bradley said. “I don’t want kids to feel like they are pressured to attend. I can’t stress enough how much we are focused on safety.”

When asked whether or not he believed the fall sports schedule would begin on time, Bradley gave the most honest answer available — he doesn’t know.

“We are going to learn a lot in the month-and-a-half,” Bradley said. “Three months ago, I would have said that I felt like we’d be fine for the fall. But things have just been crazy. I’m hopeful that we will play fall sports as scheduled. But I won’t be surprised if they are not. It is a wait-and-see game, and I still don’t have a clear picture.”

Bradley also noted the track at Burl Fowler Stadium is now open to the public and hopes that people get out and take advantage of the reopened facility.

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