Fall 2020 Return to Competition: Cross Country

This should be considered as providing recommendations from the IGHSAU for member schools and may be updated before and during the fall 2020 season.

General Considerations

  • No hugging, shaking hands, or fist bumps.
  • Cross country meets may consider using staggered, wave or interval starts. Note at the current time the state qualifying meet and state meet will be using the traditional mass start.   Consideration should be given to the format of the meet, including having different levels run on different nights. 
  • Possible Rule Modifications:
    • 8-1-3a: Consider widening the course to at least 6 feet at its narrowest point.
  • Consider widening the starting grids including skipping boxes at the starting line.
  • Finish:
    • Consider using finish corrals and FAT timing for larger meets as easier to distance at finish.
    • With no FAT timing system consider alternative means of finish place and time to address congestion at finish line. An example includes writing down the bib numbers of finishers rather than tearing bibs.
    • Consider using image-based equipment at finish to assist with picking place to avoid congestion.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and exercise equipment.
  • Pre and Post Game Ceremony: Establish cross country specific social distancing meet protocols including the elimination of handshakes before and after the meet.
  • People (players, coaches, officials, spectators, etc.) feeling sick or that have been exposed to someone sick, should not attend or participate in competitions or practices.
  • The IGHSAU strongly encourages all participants and spectators to practice social distancing and to wear face coverings whenever possible.

Considerations for Coaches

  • Communicate your guidelines in a clear manner to students and parents.
  • Consider conducting workouts in “pods” of same students always training and rotating together in practice to ensure more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.
  • Keep accurate records of those athletes and staff who attend each practice in case contact tracing is needed.
  • Team Camp Considerations – Social distancing from other teams as much as possible is strongly recommended. Coaches should consider the number of individuals within the camp.  Also, the size of the tents including whether to include the sides of the tent should also be considered.

Considerations for Student-Athletes

  • Consider making each student responsible for their own supplies.
  • Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing, and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout immediately upon returning home.
  • Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices.
  • Athletes should tell coaches immediately when they are not feeling well.
  • Cloth face coverings are permitted.
  • Bring your own water bottle.
  • Start Protocols – Student/Athletes should have individual bags and locations for sweats – no mass piling of team clothing.
  • Finish Protocols – Student/Athletes should remain upright and walk through the chute with the understanding that there will be times that a participant may need medical attention.

Considerations for Officials

  • Bring personal hand sanitizer. Wash hands frequently.
  • Don’t share equipment.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines:
    • Pre and Post Meet conferences
    • Clerking at the start line
    • Tabulations and posting of results
  • Consider using electronic whistle
  • Do not shake hands and follow pre and post-game ceremony guidelines established by state associations.
  • Officials personnel are strongly encouraged to wear cloth face coverings at all times.

Considerations for Parents

  • Provide personal items for your child and clearly label them.
  • The use of cloth face coverings is strongly encouraged.  In addition, social distancing is strongly encouraged as much as possible for non-participants, parents, coaches, officials, and other event volunteers.

Considerations for Administration

  • Facility Sanitization – Consideration should be given to which facilities are going to need sanitization, how often will sanitization be needed, who will be doing the sanitizing.
  • Awards ceremonies – Consideration for options that would allow social distancing for the athletes, coaches, and spectators – consider other alternatives such as not having awards ceremonies, strongly recommending the use of cloth face coverings for any individuals attending the awards ceremonies if there are alternative options.
  • Post-season – Potential options may be considered regarding the state qualifying meets and state meet depending upon the status of Covid-19.
  • Locker rooms may be utilized however the Dept of Public Health guidelines must be adhered to.
  • Concession stands may be opened provided they have been inspected and licensed. Click here to view concession guidance.
  • Limit the outside food brought in by teams/spectators.
  • Admission may be taken using sanitization practices or a free-will donation container is an option as well.
  • The DOE Transportation guidelines should be followed when travelling as a team. Click here to view transportation guidance
  • Consider establishing a team-based approach to a develop a written management protocol for any COVID-19 related issues, including exposure and testing outcomes.  Contact local county public health officials for their participation, involve school nurse and/or medical personnel, certified athletic trainers and/or counselors.
  • For additional COVID-19 guidance, please contact the Iowa Department of Public Health at (515) 281-7689 or visit their website at idph.iowa.gov.