MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) Meridian High School athletic director Dr. Cheyenne Trussell said summer workouts for all school athletics can begin on June 15.
While the MHSAA said member schools can begin holding summer workouts on June 1, Trussell said the decision to push the start date to June 15 was made by the administration and Meridian Public School District Superintendent Dr. Amy Carter.
“We have approximately 500 student athletes and 60 coaches, so safety is our first priority,” Trussell said. “When the MHSAA gave permission to resume play on June 1, we wanted to take a couple of weeks to kind of see how COVID-19 is acting. We made the decision that we will begin on June 15 and at that time, it’s going to take an effort from everyone to make it happen.”
Dr. Trussell emphasized how that June 15 return date will require effort from everyone including school administration, coaches, athletes and their parents.
“We of course are going to provide masks, do temperature checks, make sure spacing guidelines are followed and all that,” Trussell said. “But the student athletes has a role as well. They need to make sure that they let us know if they have any symptoms or anyone in their family does.”
Once workouts do begin on June 15 for MHS, they will be voluntary for all student athletes.
“MHSAA made it clear and of course we’re on board that no one will be penalized for not participating in summer workouts,” Trussell said. “We also are hoping parents can help play a role in this all too by helping to temperature check their son or daughter each morning.”
Trussell said administration wants to see what happens for other schools that chose to return June 1 so they can gather information on the what to do and what not to do for their student athletes.
“We (athletics) thought it would be better served to sit back since this is summer training and we want to put safety above all,” Trussell said. “Some schools around the state are starting on June 1st so that gives us a chance to observe what they’re doing as well and see what possible pitfalls that they might have that we can avoid.”
Head football Coach John Douglass said that his staff had prepared for a June 1 return date but believes the two extra weeks will be valuable.
“There are a couple of challenges that we’ve had to come up with ideas and plans and are still working on a couple of those,” Douglass said. “Those two extra weeks are probably going to come in handy in a couple of areas but I think we do have a good plan in place for when our kids get back.”
Douglass said once his team does return on June 15, practice will be less about strength and conditioning and more about installing schemes.
“I don’t know how much strength we’re going to be able to build between June 15th and the start of fall practice. obviously we’ll be in the weight room some but going back to the teaching – that’s going to be the most important part from a schematic standpoint,” Douglass said. “Offensively and defensively, it’s most important that we get the alignments and assignments and responsibilities on each formation and all and those kinds of things.”