‘We don’t want to rush into things,’ says director as athletics comes back

Clarkston News Sports Writer
Athletes on the Clarkston Girls Swim and Dive team set their mats out on the track, Monday morning as summer workouts officially started for Clarkston, following a break after athletics was cancelled back in March due to the Coronavirus pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
“We feel we have the right plan in place,” said Clarkston Athletics Director Jeff Kosin, adding they have protocols as they work within the guidelines from the Michigan High School Athletic Association and Center for Disease Control.
“We have to be cautious as we move forward,” he said. “We don’t want to rush into things and have it cancelled all over again. We are taking all the necessary precautions to make sure our student-athletes and coaches are safe – that’s our top priority moving forward.”
Each student-athlete and coach fills out a questionnaire before every workout on the Clarkston Athletics website at www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/athletics/teams/registration/summer-2020-workouts.

Shane Kerbelis checks temperatures as athletes head into the stadium. Photo by Wendi Reardon Price

“The three guiding questions for everybody are have you had flu-like symptoms, have you been out of town in the last 14 days, have you been exposed to somebody who had COVID,” said Kosin. “If any of our athletes answer yes to those questions or our coaches answer yes to those questions, we take a look at those on a case by case basis.”
Symptoms include fever/feverish, chills, sore throat, dry cough, difficulty breathing or digestive symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
When the form is filled out athletic trainers Shane Kerbelis and Kellie George and Kosin will receive an email confirmation. If any of the questions were answered with a yes, they will also receive a red flag to get more information.
Then, the students will arrive at the Clarkston High School stadium and have their temperature taken with a touchless thermometers.
“The only way into the stadium is through the ticket booth,” said Kosin, adding the parking lot off Walters Road is the only one to use right now while there is construction at the school.
“If the temperature is 100.3, we are sending them away for the week,” Kosin said. “For example, football is going Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. If a kid comes in on Monday and he has a temperature, he doesn’t have a chance to redeem himself on Tuesday. He is done for the week.”
He added they are not asking for doctor’s notes at this particular time.
“In all reality, he could go to the doctor, the doctor can clear him and he can come back the next day and still have a temperature,” Kosin said. “We are basing it off their temperature and how the kids feel.”
There are a few things for student-athletes to keep in mind getting back to workouts. The most important is don’t go if you feel sick or aren’t feeling well.
“The last thing we want to do is take three steps forward to take two steps backwards,” said Kosin. “We want to make sure they are healthy and fit, they are ready to go.”
Another thing athletes must keep in mind is the trainers can’t supply water and coaches will not have water available. Bring a gallon of water especially with warmer temperatures throughout the summer. Also, there is no sharing of water bottles.
A few more points include students must keep shirts on during workouts and no spitting is allowed.
“Those are sanitary precautions we are asking kids to take,” Kosin said.
Students and coaches will continue to maintain the social distancing guideline of six feet apart during workouts and working in pods.
“We are not asking kids to wear masks during workouts because that will restrict breathing, but wearing a mask when necessary like getting out of the car, getting temperature checked,” Kosin said, adding there will also multiple hand sanitizing stations throughout the stadium. “It will give kids the opportunity to continue to do what we have been doing for the past three months.”
The teams are also staggered throughout the day so no more than one sport is using the stadium at a time.
Clarkston Athletics encourages student-athletes to come back, but they want them to do it the right way.
Kosin added he knows there is a mix of parents and guardians ready for their kids to get back to athletics and others who are leery.
“If I can stress anything it’s we are concerned for the student athletes well-being – that’s our top priority,” Kosin said. “We met on Zoom with coaches and that was the consensus of everybody – making sure our coaches and our players are at ease to put parents’ minds at ease. We aren’t going to do anything to jeopardize anyone. We are moving in the right direction. We are taking those steps necessary to get back to the ‘norm’ and we don’t want things to jeopardize that. We are taking every precautionary measure to make sure parents are safe with what’s going on, they are confident we are taking care of the kids as we always have and we are doing things the right way. I can understand a parent being concerned. I can assure you what we are doing is following all the guidelines so they do feel safe sending their kids off to a workout with us again.”
The summer workouts usually start right after the school year ends. If it was a normal year boys and girls basketball would already in open gym, volleyball camp would have already occurred, girls swim would be in the pool, boys soccer would be working out and 7-on-7 for football would be running.
“We are about 20 days from where we normally start,” said Kosin.
He added other districts are on the same timeline.
“We met with the OAA last week and every school gave them where they are at and what are their starting points,” he said, adding only a few schools started workouts last week including Oxford, Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham.
Please check www.clarkston.k12.mi.us/athletics/teams/registration/summer-2020-workouts for updates, especially with workout schedules as they change weekly.

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