Woods Charter, like its public school counterparts, opts for a July 6 workout start date

‘It’s just not worth it right now,’ coach says

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 6/24/20

CHAPEL HILL — Last Monday, Woods Charter athletic director Dena Floyd met with her coaches via Zoom. But it didn’t go as scripted.

The tentative plan, Floyd said, was to further discuss a …

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Woods Charter, like its public school counterparts, opts for a July 6 workout start date

‘It’s just not worth it right now,’ coach says

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Posted

CHAPEL HILL — Last Monday, Woods Charter athletic director Dena Floyd met with her coaches via Zoom. But it didn’t go as scripted.

The tentative plan, Floyd said, was to further discuss a return to modified summer workouts, which the NCHSAA had allowed schools to begin June 15.

She’d instructed coaches to read the association’s six pages of guidelines thoroughly and come ready with questions. Three days later, the Woods Charter board of directors would put the potential return to a vote at its meeting scheduled for June 18.

But after the meeting — by all means still a productive one — the Wolves’ athletic department chose to err on the side of caution.

“Our coaches decided to wait until July 6,” Floyd said Friday.

In pushing back to the first Monday of next month, Woods Charter followed Chatham County’s three public schools — Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central — who announced last week, in conjunction with district leadership, they’d also start July 6.

The Wolves went in a different direction than Chatham Charter, the county’s other charter school and a fellow 1A Central Tar Heel Conference member. The Knights started socially distanced workouts June 15 and are now in the middle of their second week.

Woods Charter’s July 6 start date lines up with two scheduling quirks. It takes into account an NCHSAA-mandated dead period that runs from June 29 to July 5 (a holiday weekend), and it’s the tentative start date for the NCHSAA’s Phase Two guidelines for workouts.

Under the current Phase One guidelines, athletes cannot participate in team drills or share equipment, and teams must follow capacity limits for socially distanced indoor (10 people) and outdoor (25) workouts. The NCHSAA said Phase Two and Three information, which would presumably be less strict, “will be developed and shared according to the Governor’s continuing reopening guidelines, N.C. DHHS guidance, and CDC guidance.”

“Not sure what Phase 2 will bring,” Floyd said, “but it’s left up to the principal (Cotton Bryan) and me to make the decision.”

In her initial conversations with coaches, before their formal meeting, Floyd said she already saw a willingness to hold tight. Volleyball coach Scott Green, for example, didn’t think all the logistics of a Phase One return for his team were worth the pay-off.

Volleyball, classified as a “higher risk infection activity,” is limited to conditioning and individual ball drills under Phase One. And players “may not participate in drills with a single ball that will be bumped, served, or passed to other teammates,” the NCHSAA said.

“He was like, ‘It’s just not worth it right now,’” Floyd said of her conversation with Green. “We’d rather issue balls to our kids and get them back, sanitize them after Phase One, because why make them do that when they can do that at their houses?”

Men’s soccer coach Graeme Stewart and cross country coaches Bernard Penney and Karen Hawkins, meanwhile, expressed interest in resuming workouts under Phase One guidelines. That made sense, Floyd said, given that running, an easy activity to socially distance for, is a crucial part of both sports.

But by agreeing on a July 6 start date, Woods Charter is hoping to avoid the logistics of such situations, where a few sports start one week and another hops in later.

Floyd has also spent the last few weeks gathering thermometers and PPE for what she sees as a slow yet promising first step for her school and the state at large.

“We all are mindful of the situation,” she said. “We’re trying to do as much as we can but also understand the bigger picture — that we’ll hopefully be back playing in the fall.”

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

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