NED3.org TRACK & FIELD THINGS TO CONSIDER SPRING 2021
DISCLAIMER: This document is intended only to be a list of suggestions for any New England Division III institution planning to host or otherwise participate in an outdoor track & field meet during the spring season of 2021. Each institution should make their own decisions about how to implement holding a meet based on any and all unique circumstances, state and local guidelines, and campus regulations that pertain to the participating teams. This is not a legal document and should not be considered as inclusive of all factors that may need to be weighed.
Timing of test: Have all participants, coaches, officials, trainers, and other personnel such as student workers tested within the 48-72 hours prior to the date of the competition. Negative test results should be verified by an appropriate medical authority, such as an athletic trainer, prior to the start of the competition. No person who has not participated in this testing should be present at the competition.
Quarantine after the test: Have all persons remain in “effective quarantine” from the time of their test to the start of the competition. Participating institutions should agree on the definition of “effective quarantine.” One definition could be that all participants and student workers must remain on their own campuses and observe all campus restrictions, as opposed to requiring complete self-isolation.
Gating: Have all participants, coaches, officials, trainers, student workers etc complete a gating process just before departure from campus, upon arrival at the competition facility, or both, including a temperature and symptom check.
Contact tracing: Anyone who is currently in contact tracing quarantine should not be present at the competition even if they are symptom-free and have received a negative test.
Positive test: If any team member tests positive, then all members of that person’s cohort from their team should not attend the competition. Depending upon the institution’s cohort management plan, that may mean the entire team does not compete. If a team has cohorts that are truly separate, however, it may be possible for one or more cohorts to still participate while the other does not.
Non-competitors: All persons in attendance at the competition should wear masks at all times with the exception of any specific circumstances for competitors that are otherwise agreed upon by ALL participating institutions. Coaches, officials, and student workers should not remove their masks at any time.
While competing: All field event competitors should keep masks on at all times including while they take their jumps or throws in competition. All competitors in running events of 200 meters or shorter should keep masks on at all times including while they run their races. All competitors in events of 400 meters or more may remove their masks immediately before they start and must put them back on immediately after they finish IF this is agreed upon by ALL participating institutions, however competitors in these events who wish to keep their masks on may do so.
Food & beverages: Any person who needs to eat or drink should move to at least six feet away from all others and should only take off their mask for the shortest time possible. At no time should anyone share food, drinks, or water bottles.
Team Camps: A specific team camp area for each team should be designated and clearly marked in advance. Teams should be separated from each other by the greatest distance possible (e.g. if there are two participating institutions, their respective camps should be on opposite sides of the track). Within a team’s own camp area, that institution’s policies on social distancing should be followed. Team members should remain in the designated camp area at all times except when specifically warming up, competing, and cooling down. Individual bags/gear should be spaced at least six feet apart.
During competition: For field events, markings should be placed on the ground to indicate where the competitors who are on deck and in the hole should stand to maintain social distancing. Other waiting competitors should maintain more than six feet of distance from all others, including members of their own coaching staff. For running events, consider using alternating lanes in those events that are contested entirely in lanes. For races not run in lanes, consider using starting line positions that are marked and are at least six feet apart.
During warmup & cooldown: All student-athletes should maintain appropriate social distancing from all others while engaged in warmup and cooldown activities.
Results: Paper results should not be posted. Utilize “live results” if at all possible so participants and coaches can access those individually on their phones.
Coaching during the competition: Consider having designated “coaching boxes” labeled for each team at each event to maintain social distancing between the coaching staff and to keep an appropriate distance between coaches and competitors.
Bathrooms: At least one bathroom or portable toilet should be designated and clearly marked for the exclusive use of each participating team, and a separate one should be designated and clearly marked for officials. When possible, a portable toilet directly adjacent to each team camp area should be considered. Nobody should enter any campus building with the possible exception of a designated bathroom that is immediately adjacent to the track and has a direct exterior door.
Hand sanitizer stations: Each bathroom or portable toilet should include a hand sanitizer station. Each team camp area should have at least one additional hand sanitizer station. Additional hand sanitizer stations should be located at each field event venue and at each starting line on the track. There should be a plan for monitoring and refilling all hand sanitizer stations throughout the competition.
Total number: In scheduling any meet, the state and local protocols on the number of people allowed for an outdoor gathering should be observed. There are multiple options to consider to achieve this goal. The number of teams can be limited. The number of competitors per team can be limited. Combined versus separate gender competitions can be considered. Separate sessions for different event groups can be considered. Student-athletes who will not compete should not travel with their team.
Uniforms: All student-athletes should travel to and from the competition already dressed in their uniforms & team sweats.
Arrival and departure: Teams should not arrive until one hour prior to the start of the first event. Teams should leave as promptly as possible after the last event, allowing just enough time for participants in the final event to cool down.
Alternative viewing: There should be no spectators in attendance. If possible, the host school should consider alternative ways for parents and alumni to “watch” the competition. This could include live streaming video and/or live posting of results.
Certified officials: The minimum number of officials from outside the bubble of the participating teams should be hired. This may include a timing crew (suggest 2 people), a starter, and a meet referee who will handle other duties (e.g. implement weigh-in) not covered by coaching staff members.
Coaches: Coaching staff members already in attendance should handle as much of the officiating as possible. Suggested areas include all field event officiating, umpiring of relay zones and hurdles, lap counting, etc). Each participating institution could be assigned specific officiating duties, such as the home team officiating the jumps while the visiting team officiates the throws for a dual meet. Each coaching staff could be assigned lap counting for their own team members.
Work/Study students: Students should be hired to cover as many remaining duties as possible. This ensures that those in attendance at any meet are already within the host campus’s bubble and testing protocols. Duties that can be assigned to student workers include but are not limited to pulling tape measures, raking pits, setting up hurdles, reading wind gauges, and moving starting blocks. Consider whether students can also be appropriately trained and then assigned to tasks such as marking jumps or throws under the direct supervision of a coach acting as the lead official for the event in question.
Services provided: The host school should provide coverage by a certified athletic trainer to handle all emergency circumstances. The athletic trainer should be in a designated area, and only those injured or ill athletes who need attention should enter that area. Social distancing and masking should be maintained within the area. Each participating team, however, should be responsible for as many of their own needs as possible. This should include hydration and might also include taping and other basic services. Have a plan in place for immediate isolation, and subsequent removal from the venue, of any individual who becomes symptomatic or otherwise exhibits COVID-19 risk factors.
Clipboards/pencils: Only the designated lead official for an event should touch the clipboard, results sheet, and writing implements. Gloves should be worn by all individuals who are touching this equipment.
Throwing implements: Each competitor should have his/her own throwing implement(s). No sharing of implements should take place. Throwers should retrieve their own implement after each throw. To maintain safety, the thrower should not enter the landing area to retrieve the implement until instructed to do so by the lead official.
Implement weigh-in: Consider having a designated time for each participating team to get their implements weighed in by the referee or a coach assigned to this task, rather than having an open window of time for any implements to be weighed. In the case of a co-ed dual meet, for example, have Team A women weigh in at 9:00 am, Team B women weigh in at 9:10 am, Team B men weigh in at 9:20 am, and Team A men weigh in at 9:30 am.
HJ/PV pits: Consider having a tarp for each jumper or a tarp for each team that goes on the landing pit prior to their respective attempts and is removed after said attempts. Consider having all jumpers from the same team jump consecutively, then change the tarp, and then have the jumpers from the next team take their attempts at a given height. Disinfect tarps between athletes.
HJ/PV standards/crossbars: Only the designated student workers and the lead official for the event should move the standards, raise or replace the crossbar. This includes during warmups and during competition. Gloves should be worn by all individuals who are touching this equipment.
Rakes/tape measures: Only the designated student workers and the lead official for the event should use or otherwise touch this equipment. This includes during warmups and during competition. Gloves should be worn by all individuals who are touching this equipment. If a competitor needs a tape measure other than the one already laid out on the runway to place their marks in advance of the competition, they should use their own with gloves on.
Starting blocks: Only the designated student worker should move the blocks from one start line to another. This worker should place one set of starting blocks in each lane prior to the start of the event. The same student worker should spray each set of blocks with a disinfectant in between each heat and before the next competitor touches them at any time. This includes during warmups. Gloves should be worn by this worker at all times.
Relay batons: Each team should disinfect its baton prior to any team member touching it. The four relay runners should also use hand sanitizer at this time. After this point, only the four members of the relay team should touch the baton. The baton should be disinfected again immediately after the race.
Hurdles: Only the designated student workers should move the hurdles, raise or lower the hurdle bars, or move the weights. This includes during warmups and during competition. Gloves should be worn by all individuals who are touching this equipment. These same individuals should spray all the hurdles with disinfectant at least between events, and possibly even between heats of the same event.
Hip numbers: Consider providing each team with their own supply of hip numbers in advance of the meet, thus avoiding the need for a clerking station. Heat and lane assignments could be posted electronically on a live results link, and it could then be the responsibility of each competitor to check his/her own heat and lane and to pick up his/her own hip numbers within the designated team camp area prior to reporting to the starting line.
Single-gender vs combined: Consider whether it is more advisable to conduct all events for one gender first, followed by all events for the other gender, or whether a traditional dove-tailed schedule that alternates between genders is best.
Event grouping: Consider whether it is more advisable to conduct all field events in one session, all sprint/hurdle/relay events in another session, and all distance events in a third session, or whether a traditional schedule that alternates between event groups is best.
Event inclusion: Consider whether it is more advisable to eliminate selected events or whether a traditional schedule of all events is best. Be mindful of the minimum number of events required by the NCAA for qualifying purposes.
800 meters: Consider running this event entirely in lanes, provided the track is marked appropriately (e.g. if 4x200m relays run in entirely lanes is marked).