WEEKLY INTERVIEW WITH NMAA EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SALLY MARQUEZ JUNE 22, 2020
New Mexico Activities Association Executive Director Sally Marquez sits down for an interview to answer questions and discuss the latest guidelines regarding summer workouts. Here is the latest weekly Q&A session.
The guidelines say the coaches need to be tested before they can work with the kids. How often do they need to be tested?
It came down from the Governor’s office that before summer activity, each coach needs to be tested for COVID-19. With saying that, every community is different as far how long it has taken to get the results back. In some communities, it’s taken 24hrs to get the results back, some communities it has taken 7-10 days. So, they need to test as close as they can to the start date within time to get the test back before summer workouts. It’s also going to come down, but it hasn’t yet, but I do believe coaches are going to need to test before their season. We are probably looking at coaches testing now and once again and in either in the fall, winter or spring.
Are the kids required to get tested before workouts begin? Can a school require that kids get tested before summer workouts begin?
At this point, we are not requiring kids to be tested before summer. However, I do believe they will be required to test before their season. So, as far as the summer and the question that you have, can schools require kids to be tested? The answer is, yes. They can require them, but we do believe they will be required to right before the season starts.
Once school starts, if kids’ temperatures are tested to arrive at school, will they have to have temperature monitored again before practice?
I’ve told all the coaches the past couple weeks when I met with them via zoom, that is their new norm. Every single day, not just this summer but throughout the school year, the new norm is you need to temperature check your kids before practice. So, if the school is going to require it in the morning when they get to school, I am still telling our coaches that is your new norm and you are going to temperature check before practice throughout the school year.
Can coaches wear face shields instead of a mask?
Definitely. In fact, this weekend I saw in an article that it protects you more with face shields than it does masks. There are so many articles out there as what’s true and what’s not, but coaches are saying it’s easier to do a face shield because of when they are talking to their kids their voice carries with a shield. They can do a shield or a mask, but one or the other every time they are coaching.
Can athletes work out in a swimming pool?
That is a yes. Cross training, right now our swimming pools are open in our gyms. Swimmers and swimming coaches can meet with their athletes as well. The guideline though is 1 person per lane, so if they are going to cross-train they are going to need to stay in those pods of 5:1 and 1 person per lane back and forth.
Can a team or school have a supplier make up masks with school colors or logos?
That’s what is pretty neat. You know, how do you take this situation that we’re in and make it positive for high school kids? Through those zoom meetings the past couple of weeks, we’ve talked about making masks, have your school logos on it or your mascot or, school name, school colors. Anything we can do, that is cool, that is a neat idea for schools to do. As long as the kids are with masks, they can have school colors, mascots, school name it doesn’t matter.
With teams that conduct summer workouts outdoors, what happens if there is lightning in the area? Prior Procedures had coaches gathering the kids indoors. Now what do they do?
First off, every school is different. Every school facility is different. Some schools are practicing outdoors, some are indoors. I think the best thing to say to answer that question is the athletic directors and the coaches need to come up with a plan as to what they are going to do with their facility. Sometimes the facilities are very far away from a building, but are there cars close? Maybe instead of 10 miles that you know you need to get indoors when you see lighting, just get the kids home. I think it’s up to the school’s athletic director and administration to make that determination.
We go over all this information each week but if someone misses an interview, where can they go to find all this information, the videos and forms?
That’s a good question. I get that question over and over. I can’t find the guidelines. I didn’t see your Q&A. Where is it? What we have done, Tyler, is on the home page of the website there is a tab that says ‘COVID’ and if you click that tab everything is on there as far as guidelines, sanitation of balls, the new form for the physicals and the parents signature, anything that you need is there. The Q&A’s are on our website, as well. You can access anything. You know, we’ve started since mid-March and we’ve had a Q&A every single week. So, you can find those as well. When we had those coaches meetings, I asked them are you looking at the Q&A’s because a lot of the questions they have are on the Q&A’s. But like I’ve told everyone, there is the place where it says ‘COVID’, the Q&A’s are there, but if any coach or athletic director has a question, they can call me as well.
There are all kinds of rumors and speculations on social media like not having fans, seasons flip-flopping. How do you address those rumors?
I think we just ignore them. There are a few weeks we just talked about the Q&A’s about, 3 or 4 weeks ago, that I said if you see something out there on social media, unless it comes from myself, the Secretary of Education, the Governor’s office or Howie Morales, we just need to ignore them. So, it still is that way. Now, I’m also saying if it doesn’t come from us, the NMAA, either in the Q&A or through the athletic director, then we just need to ignore all that stuff. We just need one place where everybody is getting the information. There’s so much out there nationally, CDC guidelines, the Governor, all over the place, and so if there’s questions, if people are just concerned or they don’t understand, we need to ignore the rumors and come back and ask the questions to myself at the NMAA.
We like to wrap up these interview sessions to get a sense of where we’re at. Now that summer workouts have started for several programs, when do you see the next phase starting with some of the restrictions changing?
Where are we at? We have been saying this every week. Things change. In fact, we are going to have an athletic directors meeting tomorrow because there will be a little more to tweak in the guidelines that we can discuss that question that you asked. Phases, we have the Governor’s phase 1 and phase 2. Where are we at with the Governor’s phases? But also, where are we at within the NMAA’s phases to make sure that we are opening up within the Governor’s guidelines? However, in a safe manner, that when August happens that we are ready for high school sports and that’s the goal. Is it phase 1, phase 2, phase 3 or is it a 2-week period that we keep monitoring to look and see? We also have low-risk sports, moderate-risk sports, and high-risk sports. So, those opening up are not the same. Low-risk sports such as golf, we saw golfers are already out there, but then we have high-risk sports such as wrestling. So, what do we do in between for all the sports? That’s what we are looking at. We really can’t say phases. We have to look at these a little bit more individually and see when do we start opening up equipment. When do our pods get to be bigger than 5:1? When does a scrimmage type situation happen? From now to the beginning of school, different little phases, the Governor’s phases, and our phases will happen. Our goal from now until the first day of practice is that we will be in some type of normalcy for the first day of practice. So, every single week, it gets closer and closer and closer. Like we always end these, we are going to play again. I’m very hopeful.