RHS football/volleyball teams look for Monday re-start
RAYNE - During a usual school year at this time of the year, when you visit a high school you can hear whistles blaring from coaches on the football practice field and volleyballs hitting the gym floor.
But, not this year.
Following a three-month hiatis, high school athletic events, practices and workouts had to wait until June 8 -- but, even that was short-lived.
Only two weeks into workouts and summer practice, testing was mandated for all athletes before resuming practice.
Several Acadiana athletic programs, including schools in Acadia Parish, suspended workouts due to athletes testing positive or coming in contact with someone who has tested positive during the month of June.
As noted by Acadia Parish Superintendent Scott Richard, some schools in the parish suspended all summer workouts until testing was completed and results received.
Acadia Parish took an aggressive approach by providing testing for players, coaches, family and administrators.
Testing is complete and summer workouts/practice is slated to resume on Monday, July 13, as noted by Rayne High’s Kaine Guidry and Stephanie Garrett, who head up the RHS football and volleyball programs, respectively.
But, a new wrench has been thrown into the mix.
State Senator Cleo Fields, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, has asked the governing board of Louisiana’s public schools to cancel not only football, but all other sports because of COVID-19 concerns.
The Baton Rouge Democrat sent a letter this week to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Louisiana School Boards Association urging them to suspend all fall semester sports.
He writes, “Currently, BESE does not have a rule in place to protect our student athletes. “I’m asking them to step up and take action to protect our children.”
Louisiana Super-intendent of Schools Cade Brumley issued guidance last week on how schools should plan to reopen in the fall.
The guidance largely relies on the Louisiana High School Athletic Association to oversee sports.
“This is a critical issue and it is too important to leave solely up to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association,” Fields continued. “It is our responsibility to ensure that the health and safety of our children is placed above any athletic endeavor at any time or place.”
Fields requests the suspension of all activities involving in-person participation by students in a group setting for the upcoming fall semester, including conditioning, practice, team meetings and games.
His letter to Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education President Sandy Holloway asked the board to adopt a rule suspending all athletic activities for the fall semester at its upcoming meeting.
GeauxPreps.com, a Louisiana high school athletics website, reached out to BESE President Sandy Holloway regarding Field’s letter.
Holloway revealed that the board can recommend but not dictate how school districts handle extracurricular activities.
“Extracurricular activities is a decision made on the local level,” said Holloway. “The board could adopt the guidelines placed by the CDC but going into a school and monitoring said rules is not going to happen.”
BESE is scheduled to meet next week to discuss emergency procedures for the coming school year.
Both Guidry and Garrett stated that all their players have been tested and are good to go.
“We are looking forward to getting back to work, but we all understand that safety comes first for everyone,” stated Guidry as he and his coaching staff are ready to get back to it.
“We just have to keep it in prespective and stick to the precautions for everyone’s sake,” Guidry noted.
“We, meaning everyone, has to be cautious and smart about this. We are having to take baby steps, but we’re excited to get things cranked up again.”
Guidry noted that football players are hitting the field for drills and also the weight room, each on different days and in small groups.
Rayne High volleyball coach Stephanie Garrett and the Lady Wolves volleyball team are also scheduled to get going again on Monday.
“We will get back to court drills, at the stadium for workouts and in the south gym for other workouts,” stated Garrett about her Lady Wolves. “We will get things going again and stick to the safety plan.”
“We feel like we have a good plan at the five (public) high schools and we’re confident that we’re taking every safety precaution that we can,” said Scott Richard, Superintendent of Acadia Parish Public Schools when summer practice began in June and still believes.
“I know our coaches and administrators understand the significance of safety first and everyone’s going to do their best to make sure that everybody stays healthy.”
As of press time, Rayne High coaches and athletes will hit the football field and volleyball court on Monday -- time will tell how long that will last.