Activities and sports like swimming are set to proceed in Morgan Hill. File photo.
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Summer activities are set to resume in Morgan Hill. Using the National Federation of State High Schools Association (NFHS), the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), and the Santa Clara County and California Department of Public Health orders related to COVID-19 restrictions, the Morgan Hill Unified School District has opened up summer athletics, cheer, band practices and camps.

“I believe it’s very important to have activities within our summer programs, which help people not only physically but mentally,” MHUSD Superintendent Steve Betando said. “We wanted to get this going right away with the new public health order so we can at least get some days and weeks on the summer schedule of activities for the kids. It’s a challenge, though. Nothing is going to be the same.”

Of that there is no doubt. Betando’s superintendent guideline document was reviewed by a health and safety committee and 32 superintendents in Santa Clara County.

Among the key takeaways: rigorous screening prior to a workout that includes temperature checks for all coaches and athletes; a drop-off/pick-up student policy; the requirement for coaches, officials and all other contest personnel to wear face masks or shields at all times; workouts will be conducted in “cohorts,” or groups up to a maximum of 12 students who will only work within the group and not intermix with another group for a minimum of a four-week period; no physical contact between athletes during any workout; and for outdoor swimming, at least one other person besides the lifeguard shall be on duty at all times to ensure that the social distancing protocol applicable to the facility are followed.

In addition, all athletic programs and camps must complete, share copies to students, coaches and the Facilities Department, and post in a visible location the Santa Clara County Public Health social distancing protocol Covid-19 site-specific protection plan seven-page document.

“We of course have been practicing challenges all spring, so I know our staff has done an amazing job and is up to the challenge to make this work,” Betando said. “There are a lot of questions because there are so many unknowns, but again, we’ve been practicing putting together options for unknowns such as graduation activities. We put together several options, and in the end used almost every single one of them to give the kids a great experience.”

Betando said MHUSD has already been putting things into place like temperature checks with the essential child care program at the beginning of the shelter in place order. Betando said he and his staff have to make sure the support processes are there so all of the athletic directors and site directors at every event or workout can follow protocol. 

For example, they’ll need all of the materials to sanitize equipment that may be shared by the cohorts (groups up to 12), along with athletes having to wash according to protocols and use hand sanitizer immediately after sharing equipment. 

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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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