“Prepare your organizations to officiate this fall…”
Hot off the press as of this morning…We anticipate CHSAA will be issuing guidelines that sports (including football) can proceed so long as no more than 25 players are on the field/court at the same time. This does not include non-players, coaches or officials. This will allow football to proceed on schedule. The final decision whether to participate will still be made at a local district and school level. While the state could give a “green light” to playing, individual schools could still “opt out” of participating.
The good news…Please prepare physically and mentally for a busy football season. Remember, we will still need to be flexible as events may change at any time. We will keep you as up to date as possible, but “flexible” will be the theme for the season. Many of you had questions on Area Meetings, Master Clinic, etc. As soon as we have concrete plans for those things, we will pass them on.
PLEASE TELL US IF YOU KNOW YOU WILL NOT OFFICIATE IN 2020:
There is still a long way to go in terms of time and effort until the football season is here so we are not pushing anyone to make a final decision now on whether or not to officiate. However, if you absolutely know that you will not be officiating high school football in 2020 because of COVID concerns, please let an Area Director know soon so we can make adjustments before the Draw. If you are unsure, or if there is ANY chance you WILL officiate, do not make a final decision right now. Also, please refrain from sending us the stipulations for you to officiate (i.e. no mask), as we do not control the possible requirements. None of the proposed changes are final at this time and are still a work in progress. The decision whether to officiate this year is personal – the right decision is unique to each official given that official’s circumstances. Please respect the decisions of your peers…do not demean a fellow official for their beliefs and choices around this unprecedented Pandemic.
DFOA is not making any of the decisions about high school football, officiating requirements or the potential mechanics involved. Our role is to communicate information to members and share information from our members to the decision-makers via CFOA. Decision-makers at the NFHS, state, district and school level will do what they feel is in the best interests of everyone impacted by high school football based on the available information. In addition to educators statewide, the Governor’s office and health department are providing guidance on resuming all sports safely. Whatever they decide, we will have to abide by any mandatory protocols and guidelines for play. There is a genuine effort underway to get kids back on the field as soon as possible.
DFOA COVID SURVEY RESPONSES:
Thank you to everyone who responded to the DFOA COVID “pulse” survey. Over 100 officials responded and many shared comments. Predictably, given all of the uncertainty around the COVID-19 Pandemic and high school football, the comments were often passionate and varied widely with individual circumstances. Overall, there is low concern among DFOA officials of contracting COVID-19 from officiating. There were a very wide range of responses about potential protective equipment. The results have been shared with CFOA and CHSAA leaders for consideration. We truly appreciate the time many of you took to reply, the information provided valuable insights for us to share with the state.
Maxpreps has a list of the status of high school sports in each state available here:
At least one football helmet manufacturer is making a “splash shield” fitted to the football helmet in front of the player’s mouth. Information on that is here: https://www.schuttsports.com/splash-shield.html
OFFICIALS PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT & MECHANICS:
At this time, we know that the Umpire will not be moving to the offensive backfield and masks will not be mandatory for officials or players during the game. Masks will be optional during the game and may still be mandatory or recommended for pregame and half-time interactions. If you are interested in purchasing a black, white or striped cloth mask they are available from several officials supply websites. Smitty’s has a mask for $7.99 plus shipping. Electronic whistles are also available from several websites including Fox 40. A miniature handheld electronic whistle costs around $18 plus shipping. At this time we do not anticipate being able to order any equipment in bulk as an association simply due to uncertainty about the requirements. If you are financially able to invest in these items now, it might be a good idea to do so while you can get them. If it’s announced that they will be required, there will most certainly be a shortage with everyone trying to get them for multiple sports. Completely optional and may not be required but plan ahead.
Thanks for your patience and enthusiasm for high school football!