With the Franklin County Community School Corporation releasing its plans for a return to school in 2020-21, the FC Athletic Department and Athletic Director Denny Dorrel have likewise started hammering out details for the late summer as six Wildcat fall sports begin thinking about their upcoming seasons.

Recommendations from the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana High School Athletic Association, Governor Eric J. Holcomb, and the local Franklin County COVID-19 Task Force were all considered in developing the schedule, which is still subject to change in the case of increased health concerns.

The first phase will begin Monday, July 6 (five days later than the original return date) and run through Sunday, July 19.

All students and staff will be trained using the Centers for Disease Control resources; the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 will be outlined prior to participation in workouts or practices.

Summer conditioning for any fall sport is completely voluntary until Monday, Aug. 3, also the day of the first scheduled competition – the annual girls golf invitational hosted by Richmond High School. If a student does not feel safe participating, he/she will not be held accountable. Official practices begin Friday, July 31 (golf) and Aug. 3 (other sports).

Also, during Phase I, each sport may hold two practices per week – with a maximum of three hours – but not on consecutive days. An athlete may take part in four conditioning sessions (each a maximum of two hours) per week, with no equipment allowed; cross country is included within this guideline.

Several conditions for students and coaches are in effect during the first phase.

An athlete will check in at a designated area where a coach will check temperatures with provided UV thermometers and fill out a required checklist. Any yes answer will disallow participation for that day. Hand sanitizer will be readily available at workouts. Each student will be required to bring a personal water bottle with a name; these and towels, clothing and shoes will not be shared. The athletic department will have extra bottles available for use; no water fountains will be used.

Where practical and when coming to or leaving practice, students are asked to wear face coverings. All coaches will wear masks when indoors or when in close contact with students and staff.

Locker rooms will not be used, so students must come dressed for the day's activity; showers are encouraged at home. Athletes will be kept in smaller groups when possible, then required to leave school grounds immediately after practice. High fives are frowned upon, as are team “breakdowns.” The weight room will not be available and no scrimmages with other schools will take place in Phase I. All equipment will be sanitized after practice, and during practice when feasible.

Any winter and spring sports coaches utilizing this time will yield to the fall sports programs beginning Monday, July 20, the start of Phase II that runs through Saturday, Aug. 15.

Time restrictions from the first phase will be removed and normal summer hours will resume.

The same stipulations remain for water bottles, water fountain usage, the use of small groups, and sharing of other equipment. Frequent use of hand sanitizer is required. Sanitation of equipment will continue. Coaches will no longer be asked to wear facemasks indoors; medical staff will be required to wear them when in contact with students.

Weight and locker room usage will resume, but there will still be no congregating after an event. Spotters will be utilized in the weight room and no team will have more than 25 athletes working out at once. To keep the locker room at or below 50 percent capacity, the football team will release players in waves.

There is one scheduled scrimmage during Phase II: volleyball vs. Centerville on Wednesday, Aug. 12 – no spectators are allowed. The girls golf team has five other early events that fall in the Phase II slot – Union County Invitational Aug. 4, Greensburg Invitational Aug. 8, vs. Richmond Aug. 10, a triangle meet with Batesville and Oldenburg Academy Aug. 14, and Lapel Invitational Aug. 15.

The girls soccer team hosts East Central and volleyball is at Rushville Aug. 17. Cross country opens with the Winchester Invitational Aug. 19 and boys tennis hosts Northeastern the next day. The football opener is at home vs. New Castle on Aug. 21, followed by boys soccer opening with Batesville the next morning.

If an athlete completed a physical last year on the approved IHSAA form, he/she does not have to complete one for this year. This includes incoming freshmen. Each athlete will have to submit the 2020-21 IHSAA Health History Update Questionnaire and Consent & Release Certificate. If an athlete checks yes to any of the health history questions, he/she will be required to complete a physical.