After the latest update from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as consultation with peer schools in the Triangle Independent Schools Athletic Conference, Durham Academy Athletics is ready to announce our return-to-competition practice protocols for Upper School moderate-risk sports: volleyball, field hockey and boys soccer and Middle School field hockey, volleyball and soccer.
The first varsity boys soccer matches are set for Sept. 29 and Middle School on Oct. 8; the varsity volleyball team is scheduled to play Sept. 30 with Middle School on Oct. 8; and the varsity field hockey team will play Sept. 30 with Middle School on Oct. 5. These teams join Upper School low-risk teams — girls tennis, girls golf, and boys and girls cross-country — in preparing for interscholastic competition. Low-risk teams were initially scheduled to begin competition today, but those events have been postponed due to weather.
On Wednesday, moderate-risk sport coaches began implementing up to 30 minutes of “light” scrimmaging — involving defense and small-sided games for soccer and field hockey, and 6-on-a-side for volleyball. Student-athletes must be masked during scrimmages and are asked to report on their ability to complete these drills while masked to provide data points on using masks during competition.
From Sept. 21–24, moderate-risk teams will continue to scrimmage, following guidance for teams in sports where close contact may occur but is not prolonged, with a gradual increase in the number of scrimmage minutes per practice. After evaluating mask data collected from the previous week, the DA Athletics leadership team and Health Consultants will re-assess the level of mask usage required in scrimmages for this week. We will also collaborate with peer schools on protocols for mask usage during competition.
On Sept. 25, moderate-risk teams will compete in full-team intrasquad scrimmages, complete with officials. These will serve as “dress rehearsals” for interscholastic competition the following week. DA Athletics will livestream and provide social media updates for these games. Following N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association guidelines, no spectators other than essential DA personnel are allowed to attend these intrasquad scrimmages.
Middle School teams will be able to bring students to campus for practice on days when they are not on campus for school (Academy students can practice on University days and vice-versa). Due to large roster sizes and facility limitations, Middle School cross-country and tennis team members will continue to practice only on the days on which they attend school in person (fully remote learners will continue to attend practice on the days that their assigned cohort is on campus).
The volleyball, field hockey and both soccer teams are able to start practicing with complete rosters starting Sept. 21. We understand that students may not have transportation to campus on the days their cohort is learning remotely. Our coaches will not penalize team members for missing practice on these days, however for planning purposes, we ask that parents contact the coach by noon if their child will not be able to attend practice that day.
In order to avoid interfering with daily pick-up traffic patterns, all Middle School athletes who come to campus for practice on days their cohort is not on campus for school should be dropped off by the flagpole in front of the main office between 2:25 and 2:35 p.m. to be screened/temperature checked by a member of DA Athletics staff. They will then proceed to the upper field where they will wait until it is time to go to their individual practice location.
Full competition schedules for each team will be uploaded to www.da.org/athletics as soon as possible and coaches will be in contact with more information regarding their specific team. At this time, the NCISAA has a No Spectator Policy for all athletics competitions. DA Athletics staff is working on a plan to livestream as many games as possible.