Miami Herald | By Devoun Cetoute and Carli Teproff | September 30, 2021
We all know that school is more than just academics, sports and clubs is where some of the fondest memories are made.
So when schools shut down for COVID 19, students didn’t just lose in-person learning. Sports stopped for the most part. Clubs missed competitions. And after school schedules suddenly were blank.
There’s some good news: Sports and extra curricular activities are back. But like everything these days there some new rules.
The pandemic has hit schools, students and faculty alike, just hard as it has hit the rest of the state. Miami-Dade County Public Schools reports 2,598 positive cases since Aug. 13, 2,148 being students and 397 being employees. Broward County Public Schools reported 2,346 cases since the beginning of the school year, 1,853 students and 493 employees.
Here’s what Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties are doing. However, as the pandemic fluctuates so can these rules.
ARE AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES AND EXTRACURRICULARS BEING HELD?
Miami-Dade: Yes, clubs and various extracurricular activities are permitted. They must follow CDC guidelines on group size limitations and social distancing. The school district suggests these events be held virtually if possible.
Broward: Yes, the school district will be allowing after school activities.
Monroe: For the most part, yes, as long as the activity can be held them safely and within the district’s guidelines.
ARE STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN SPORTS THIS YEAR?
Miami-Dade: The district is providing all sports sanctioned by the Florida High School Athletic Association, as it did in the 2019-2020 school year. Competitions began on Aug. 18.
Broward: The district says sports team participation is roughly the same from last school year, with a significant increase in spectator participation this year.
Monroe: Yes, with the same guidelines that are followed for all school activities.
ARE MASKS REQUIRED DURING THESE ACTIVITIES?
Miami-Dade: Groups must follow CDC guidelines on mask usage.
Broward: Masks are required for all indoor activities and outdoor activities when physically distancing is not possible. The exception being sports, where masks are not required when actively playing.
Monroe: The district is following the same rules as those in place for classes. Masks are required with an opt-out option. Social distancing is done depending on available space.
DO COVID SAFETY RULES CHANGE FOR INDOOR SPORTS?
Miami-Dade: Yes, masks have to be worn when inside school facilities and when students are not competing. Locker rooms will be sanitized and also have limited access to reduce exposure. There is also no sharing of water bottles or equipment.
Broward: Sports safety guidelines are the same as those to be followed in the classroom.
Monroe: Sports participants, particularly ones who are involved in contact and high-energy sports, sign a waiver (or their parents do) stating they understand masks may not be able to be worn during a sport activity. Masks will be worn and social distancing will be implemented when possible.
ARE FIELD TRIPS AND SPORT AWAY GAMES STILL ALLOWED?
Miami-Dade: Yes, field trips and school competitions are allowed pending principal and region approval. Field trips must follow CDC guidelines for transportation in buses and while participating in events. The district suggests these events be held virtually.
Broward: Yes, all activities are open; maintaining the face covering policy on field trips.
Monroe: Field trips and sports games have resumed. The same rules that are followed on a day to day basis in classes, school buildings and buses are in place.
WHAT HAPPENS IF A STUDENT ATHLETE CONTRACTS COVID?
Miami-Dade: If a student athlete tests positive, the district follows contract tracing guidelines and anyone who has been deemed to have close contact is required to quarantine unless they are vaccinated.
Broward: The district also follows contract tracing guidelines. If a team can not participate due to lack of players, they can either forfeit or reschedule, if possible.
Monroe: The same quarantine rules apply to sports as any other time.