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NCHEAC COVID Update 8-20-2021

The state of NC and NCHEAC are not requiring players/coaches to wear masks at this time, but many local towns and counties are re-implementing mask mandates that certain facilities are required to abide by.  Please check with your opponents as (far as face coverings go) to what may be required when you travel to their facility.  

Although NCHEAC is currently not mandating face coverings, testing, or shots, we do realize that some programs use facilities that might require face coverings. If a program has to use a facility requiring face coverings, then please be mindful and respectful of those requests.  Be aware of your local conditions and do your part to keep everyone safe. NCHEAC is not asking for testing or proof of vaccinations, and while we are not mandating face coverings either, we realize that it might be unavoidable.  

1)      If  a visiting team refuses to comply with government or facility mandates they will forfeit.

2)      If a home team exceeds government or facility mandates, then the visiting team can refuse to play, and the home team forfeits.

As conditions change, this information is subject to change.

(Information content is subject to change, based on state government and health requirements).

NCHEAC COVID-19 Spring Sports Announcement  - (May 2021)

Regarding face coverings based on Governor's executive order 209.  No longer required for outdoors.

(Information content is subject to change, based on state government and health requirements).

NCHEAC COVID-19 Basketball Announcement  - (October 25, 2020)

Basketball will start in November and will start with a limit of 25 spectators.  Read the Fall Sports info below and especially the volleyball information.  Same recommendations apply for safety practices.  Note. For basketball, it may not be suitable to change/clean the game ball during the contest, so make sure sanitizer is available for players to keep hands clean.

(Information content is subject to change, based on state government and health requirements).

NCHEAC COVID-19 Fall Sports Announcement  - (July 22, 2020)

2020 NCHEAC Fall Sports

The first week of August is when NCHEAC normally starts its fall sports season. COVID-19 has interrupted what is "normal," but NCHEAC anticipates proceeding, as much as possible, with our season.

NCHEAC sports leagues are designed to allow individual families to choose which sports they want to participate in. This year, some families cannot wait to begin practice and competition, others are ambivalent, and still others think there is no safe way to engage in interscholastic athletics.  As with all sports, athletic participation in our league is at the risk and discretion of the athlete and family involved.

All that considered, NCHEAC will be planning on having its fall sports of girls volleyball, boys soccer, and boys and girls cross country providing the following are in place:

1)      Volleyball – competitions may begin when the governor's health and safety mandates allow for at least 25 people in a gym. This may require fans to view the matches virtually while remaining outside of the gym and maintaining social distancing rules.

2)      Soccer – per NCDHHS, if the following limitations are met.
Per Section 7(A) of Executive Order No. 141, the Mass Gathering limit of 25 individuals outdoors applies to groups of people who gather together in a park, which would include an outdoor baseball, outdoor soccer, or other outdoor sports field. Accordingly, each youth, amateur, pickup or collegiate sports team may have up to 25 individuals participate in outdoor sports practice or competition, which includes athletes, coaches, trainers and other support staff. Spectators or other attendees at outdoor sports practice or competitions, provided they are separated from the outdoor field by at least 6 feet, are subject to a separate 25-person cap. Each outdoor baseball, outdoor soccer, or other outdoor field, if part of a larger outdoor sports complex, may be counted separately. By way of example, if there are 5 adjoining outdoor soccer fields as part of an outdoor sports complex, each of the 5 fields may have up to 25 individuals on each sports team (counted as described above), with up to 25 spectators on each field.

3)      Cross Country - meet may occur as long as it is in compliance with the maximum numbers in attendance as per the governor's orders. This may require some creativity such as running meets with multiple divisions or heats in order to maintain compliance with health and safety rules.

4)      Practices for all fall sports are open as of now at each team's discretion and competition matches may begin on August 10th for boys soccer, and  they may begin for volleyball the Monday after the governor's Phase 3 begins or when the indoor mass gathering limit gets to at least 25, whichever comes first.

Note: These principles are a starting point and are subject to change as they may require additional rules and adjustments as made known through the NCHEAC Website.

NCHEAC recognizes that many of our programs are at the mercy of recreation and church facilities. We are aware that those restrictions may impact having a full season and some adjustments may well be needed.  We realize that until the state gets into Phase 3, that there will be some uncertainties.

NCHEAC has never stated when teams are to play their conference games. We have just set a time frame that they are to be done a week before the scheduled post-season tournament. That still remains the policy.

NCHEAC encourages each program to put in their own safety measures as they deem appropriate in addition to the recommendations stated below.  Stay connected with your local officials as each county may have a different set of guidelines.

See below for "Deadlines".

(For Health and Safety)

For practices and contests, we recommend for teams to do their part to lessen the exposure to COVID-19 by : 
Practice 6ft social distancing as much as possible
Have hand sanitizer available
Avoid unnecessary physical contact (such as handshakes) during and at the end of the game/match
Sanitize balls as often as possible (for volleyball)
Individuals should remain home if they are sick, have symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in contact with those who do have COVID-19
Minimize the number of non-conference contests

The use of face masks in the stands and prior to the arrival at the athletic contests are encouraged as in compliance with the state face mask declaration by the governor.

We encourage you to check with state and local health departments for other recommendations that may be beneficial to reduce the spread of the virus, etc.
Also, check other sports association websites for safety guidelines related to sanitizing sports equipment, etc.
NCHSAA Resource List

NFHS (COVID19-Training for Coaches and ADs)
(Once on the NFHS page - you must create an account if you do not have one.  Then go through the process of purchasing the course. It is like you are purchasing it, but it is really a free course.   Go to the Dashboard to retrieve your course.)

Exceptions to current rules as related to COVID-19:

1.       Related to the cancellation of this past 2020 spring sports season, if an athlete has not aged out, has not graduated, and was not publicly recognized as a senior in the spring of 2020, then that athlete would be allowed to participate in the 2021 spring sports season only. This would be an exception to the red-shirt rule. This red-shirt exception is only for the 2021 spring sports and does not apply to the 2020 Fall and Winter sports.
An athlete played a fall or winter sport in the 2019-20 season and was recognized as a senior in that sport prior to the spring of 2020. The athlete had intended to play during the 2020 spring sports season before it was canceled. This athlete would not be allowed to come back and participate in the fall or winter of this coming 2020-21 season, but would be allowed (if they meet the requirements mentioned above) to participate in the spring 2021 season (since they missed out in 2020).

2.       For the 2020-21 sports season, if a registered program announces they can not field teams (fold) due to conditions associated with COVID-19, then NCHEAC will allow an exception to the NR/NT rule, by allowing  those athletes affected and which participate with another program/team, to have the option to return to the (folded) program/team, if that such program/team registers again for the 2021-22 season.