Tuesday morning meant a return to workout drills, or as close a semblance to the real thing for athletes at Plaquemine High School and other schools across Iberville Parish.

The move into Phase 2 of the coronavirus restrictions opened the door at least slightly for conditioning drills in hopes players return to the field, although the jury is out on what kind of format will prevail when school begins in August.

The morning activities did not begin with the normal stretch exercises. Instead, coaches checked temperatures and gathered data on athletes before they hit the weight room.

“We’re doing things we’ve never had to do before,” head coach Paul Distefano said.

The restrictions amid social distancing extend to the workouts themselves.

Guidelines from the state – under the protocol from the White House and Center for Disease Control – allow only two athletes at a weight rack and a limit of 25 in the weight room.

The workouts will continue throughout the summer, but one questions remains unanswered.

The state has not offered guidance on the upcoming school year, and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association have not yet given guidance on how Friday night football games can prevail during a pandemic.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen to the season or even how they will have school,” Distefano said. “It could be virtual school or staggered schedules that bring kids in at different times … we don’t know anything yet.”

As for the football games, schools and coaches remain uncertain whether fans will attend or if players will compete in empty stadiums.

“It all depends on the size of the stadium, I guess … we don’t have an answer,” Distefano said. “I don’t think playing in an empty stadium is an option.

“The kids deserve to have their parents here and the parents deserve to see their kids,” he said. “Plus, with an empty stadium, how will we pay officials?”

For right now, Distefano and other coaches across Louisiana will make the most of the opportunity.
“We’re going to do this throughout the summer and make the most of this time we all have together again,” he said. “We waited long enough.”

The drills were set to begin Monday, but postponed due to Tropical Storm Cristobal.