Greyhounds adjusting to new COVID-19 restrictions
Jones County High School athletes are back at work, but not as in a normal summer.
The Georgia High School Association cleared schools to begin summer conditioning sessions last week, with a strict list of requirements for cleaning and to limit the size of groups in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
At Jones County, football, softball, cross-country and basketball athletes began voluntary summer training on June 8. Competition cheerleading is holding tryouts, and volleyball, a new girls’ sport being added this year, began conditioning on Tuesday.
Athletic director Barry Veal and the coaches of the various sports said the sessions have been going well and participation has been good.
But they also miss their regular routines and hope some of the restrictions will be modified soon to allow more sport-specific workouts.
For now, each sport is limited to having groups of no more than 20 people, including the coaches, on campus at a time. The workouts are limited to weightlifting and conditioning. Sport-specific equipment, including balls and bats, are prohibited.
Basketball and softball players are lifting weights. Crosscountry runners are running, with one group meeting at the pecan orchard next to the Jones County Pre-K campus and running around town and the other meeting at the crosscountry course on Howard Roberts Road.
Football players are meeting to lift weights in the weight room and run drills on the football practice field.
“It’s been going good,” football coach Mike Chastain said. “The guys are able to lift and then get out on the field to do some running. It will be good when we can add a football and start practicing some plays.”
Normally in June, the players wear helmets and work on learning the offense and defense and also go to 7-on-7 camps where they can work against other teams with limited contact. All of that is forbidden for now.
Chastain said he has six groups spaced out through the day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to comply with the 20-person limit per group.
“It makes for a long day, but it’s what we have to do for now.”
Softball coach Tripp Burt said he has two groups of girls coming to lift weights three days a week.
Normally softball would also have the girls participating in batting practice, both in the indoor batting cage facility and on the softball field, but that is prohibited for now.
“We didn’t get to have tryouts during the spring the way we usually do, so we’ve got the returning players and some girls we’ve never seen play coming to the workouts. It will be nice to finally be cleared to have tryouts and see what everyone can do,” Burt said.
Cross-country coach Geoff Moore said he had expected more participants when the workouts began but that numbers are down from the middle schools.
“With schools being closed most of the spring we didn’t get a chance to get the word out to all the younger kids in the middle schools. Hopefully we’ll pick up some of those as we go along and they hear from friends that we’re working,” he said.