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The Alabama High School Athletic Association on Thursday announced its member schools can reopen on June 1 for athletic activities.

In a press release, AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese called it "welcome news."

“The AHSAA, its Central Board of Control, along with the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), has updated its guidelines regarding summer activities,” Savarese said. “The biggest change is our schools may reopen on June 1, a week earlier than the June 8 date previously discussed. We are elated to have a definite date for our coaches and student-athletes to return to their schools where they can continue to experience valuable educational lessons through athletics."

Schools have been closed and athletics suspended since mid-March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, summer competitions involving multiple schools — 7-on-7's, play dates, etc. — were canceled last week.

Here are some other guidelines announced by the AHSAA:

— Group size is unlimited as long as physical distancing and all other current safety guidelines are maintained. Coaches should consult with their administration for ALSDE/ADPH guidelines related to physical distancing. 

— Only school personnel, coaches, athletic trainers and student-athletes should be present during activities. Non-essential personnel should not be present.

— All equipment and surfaces, including weights, benches, balls, bats, helmets, gloves, etc., should be cleaned after each group activity, individual workout or skill development session. Avoid sharing equipment or personal items — towels, cups, water bottles, gloves, etc. — when possible.

— Facial coverings are recommended to the greatest extent possible but should be worn when an activity requires a person to be closer than six feet and when entering common areas.

— It is the responsibility of the local school (system) to follow all guidelines provided by the ADPH, ALSDE and local county/city health departments.

— All coaches, athletes and personnel may be screened each day for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 infection prior to participating in any workout or gathering.

For a complete list of guidelines, visit www.AHSAA.com

% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.​

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