ATLANTA — Student athletes can get back to work.

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) is allowing schools to resume activities limited to workouts and conditioning beginning June 8. The school districts will be required to follow the minimum requirements set by the GHSA that include extensive cleaning and limited workout groups, but they are allowed to increase the restrictions.

School districts can choose to resume activities after the June 8 date.

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The GHSA Board of Trustees met virtually to view the proposed guidelines. Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines said Gov. Brian Kemp gave a "thumbs up" on the proposal and praised the governor for his leadership of Georgia.

Some stated it was the first time they were seeing them, and others argued June 1, the original proposed date, was not enough time for larger school districts to prepare. Ultimately, the board agreed to June 8 to give players, coaches and schools more time to prepare to adhere to the guidelines.

Schools will have to screen students and coaches arriving at the facilities by asking them about their health - including whether they have had a cough, fever, or possibly been exposed to COVID-19. 

Workout groups will consist of a maximum of 20 athletes and coaches, per sport, at a time. The groups will remain consistent to limit possible exposure. There must be 15 minutes between groups for disinfecting the facility.

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Locker rooms, showers, water fountains, sport-specific equipment are all off limits, and athletes must arrive prepared for their workout with their own water bottle.

Finally, there can be no visitors or competition between schools.

In the guidelines, it stipulates districts need an infectious disease plan. When asked by a board member what happens if a positive COVID-19 test occurs, Executive Director Dr. Robin Hines said it is up to the district's infectious disease plan and did not give any further guidelines. 

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Hines and the GHSA shut down all high school sports when Kemp closed schools for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year. That order lasts through May.

In June, summer activities and football workouts are typically allowed to start, but football practices sanctioned by the GHSA don't begin until late July. The GHSA released varsity football schedules for the 2020-21 season earlier this week.

We will continue to update this story with new developments and reaction.

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