SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - High school football teams across Georgia felt a little normal Monday, as practice felt mostly like practice.
“We’ve been at it for a while with conditioning, but it isn’t quite the same as actually getting the team together for practice,” says Benedictine head coach Danny Britt. “So a lot of excitement, a lot of encouragement.”
Monday was the first day high school football teams in Georgia were allowed to hold mandatory practices with their full squads. Teams will work with just helmets for the week during the acclimation period.
For the past few weeks, teams have been able to hold voluntary conditioning workouts. Group size for those workouts was limited for social distancing purposes.
Monday was the first time teams could hold workouts for their full teams, and players will be able to put on pads August 1.
While the coaches and players are excited to get back to work, many are also still very cautious of COVID-19.
According to the GHSA guidelines and recommendations, coaches are encouraged to wear face masks at all times. Players are also encouraged to socially distance themselves whenever possible. Teams can also use locker rooms now, though players are encouraged to distance and not mingle in the locker room. Schools will also be responsible to sanitize the locker rooms each day.
Savannah Country Day was another team back to work on Monday morning. Now with the entire team taking part at one time, Hornets head coach Jim Collis says it’s also a time to be extra vigilant on preventing the spread of COVID-19.
“If we want to be able to continue what we’re doing, then we all really have to follow protocol and be disciplined,” Collis says. “When you walk into a building, you have to wash your hands. You have to have a face mask on. If you don’t, we’re all just taking chances. Then if we get a positive case, it’s just going to shut everybody down.”
Teams will be allowed to put on pads for the first time beginning August 1. The season is scheduled to begin a few weeks later on September 4.