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GHSA lifts restrictions on locker rooms, group size

The Georgia High School Association (GHSA) on Wednesday laid out its guidelines for fall sports practices, lifting restrictions on locker rooms, shower facilities and group size.

The announcement is part of the organization's "guidance for acclimatization and practice with recommendations and/or restrictions" and will take effect Aug. 1, which marks the date of first practice for fall sports.

Groups were previously limited to 50 people, including coaches, while using school facilities. Though groups are no longer limited to size, the guidelines encourage schools to limit groups "as much as feasibly possible."

Use of locker rooms and shower facilities are permitted as long as they are sanitized after each practice. Social distancing and masks are also recommended for locker rooms, weight rooms and indoor athletic facilities. 

Among other recommendations are: schools should review their Infectious Disease Prevention Plan, staff and athletes should be screened prior to each workout, schools should have hand sanitizer readily available. 

The GHSA also lifted restrictions on scrimmages, allotting schools one head-to-head scrimmage any time between the start of practice and the first regular-season game, per league constitution. 

According to the GHSA, the league plans to announce guidelines regarding stadium seating, concessions, venues and spectators, though conceded that those decisions will be made on the local level.

The GHSA voted on Monday to push back the start of the high school football season two weeks, keeping all other fall sports on schedule.

Georgia became the 16th state to delay at least one fall sport, and on Tuesday, Texas announced it will postpone the start of football season for Class 6A and Class 5A high schools, many of which are in highly populated areas.

Two of Georgia's bordering states — Alabama and Florida — decided this week not to alter its fall sports schedule.

North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee have announced or plan to announce a delay to its high school football season.