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Bulloch County schools set standards for summer training
SHS Football
Statesboro High running back Davardrion Lipsey (29) spins away from West Laurens defenders near the line of scrimmage and rips off a long run during a Sept. 27, 2019 game at Womack Field. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT/staff

On May 21 the Georgia High School Association announced plans to open up conditioning for its member schools for June 8th. The restrictive plan provided for conditioning only, and GHSA schools were told they could adopt stricter guidelines, but not allowed to be less restrictive

Monday afternoon the Bulloch County Board of Education office released a statement announcing plans for summer conditioning to begin on June 8th.

County athletic directors, coaches and principals worked together to come up with a plan that was approved Monday allowing Bulloch County Middle Schools and High Schools to begin non-mandatory workouts starting June 8th.

“It was great working as a team with SEB and SHS to review the GHSA guidelines and make a June 2020 summer conditioning plan for Bulloch County,” said Portal Middle/High athletic director Justin Chester. “The staff at PMHS will work hard to ensure everyone is safe and responsible as we facilitate conditioning activities this summer.”

With Bulloch County having such a large range of school sizes, each coach must find ways of trying to get the work in, in the most convenient way possible.

“We will have four groups of 20, and will be lifting starting at 7:30 am, and going all the way til 1:30 pm,” said Southeast Bulloch football coach and Co-AD Barrett Davis. “We will be working Monday through Thursday. We are going to focus on lifting and conditioning, and try to get kids back in shape the best we can. The players will have to bring their own water bottle, and safety will be our top priority.”

“We are glad to be able to see our kids, and get back to work with them,” Davis said. “We have been communicating with them, but we will be glad to see their smiling faces. Our coaches and players are chomping at the bit to be with their teammates and get to work.”

Statesboro High is the largest school in the county, and with that comes unique challenges for head football coach Jeff Kaiser and his staff.

“We know we will have to follow our safety guidelines to a T,” Kaiser said. “We are just thankful for a starting point, and hopefully we can progress without any setbacks.”

“Our kids will be here for roughly an hour and a half each,” Kaiser said “Our coaches will be here around two hours, when you take into consideration the time to clean up and disinfect equipment. The challenge comes for the head coach who is the only one who is allowed to be with every group. It’s going to be 14 hour days for me, but I am okay with that as I am making up for lost time. If it means being back around our kids I welcome the long days.”

Coaches as a whole are not too patient, but considering how long they have waited to get back, most are more than happy to take baby steps.

“Having missed practice we actually look forward to starting slowly,” Kaiser said. “I look at it as a positive, as we don’t have to feel like we have to rush. We can actually use these next three weeks to work out and condition, as well as teach our kids things in meetings.”

“”I feel like the Bulloch County Board of Education, and the central office administration did a very thorough job of making sure this is done correctly,” Kaiser said. “It was well thought through, and we are excited about the opportunity.”

Typically the first week of July is the dead period for GHSA schools, with mandatory workouts usually beginning the next week. There has been no release of a second phase to the current plan. The plan’s recommendations and restrictions have been stated as being fluid, and subject to change.

“In a perfect world we would love to be able to progress by July 6th,” Kaiser said. “But at this point we are thankful for what we have. These workouts are one hundred percent voluntary, and a kid whose family feels it’s not wise to come back will face no repercussions or consequences.”