Also on Wednesday, at the same time the Iowa High School Athletic Association issued guidance for football, cross country and Class 4A boys’ golf in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union also issued guidance for its sports.

Those sports are cross country, volleyball and girls swimming.

The documents “should be considered as providing recommendations from the IHSAA for member schools and may be updated before and during the fall 2020 season,” each of the three documents stated.

With each of the sports-specific guidance documents, the IGHSAU recommended that public address announcers read a statement before each contest to encourage social distancing and to encourage fans to do their part to keep student-athletes active; asked that anyone feeling sick or have been exposed to someone who is sick should not attend or participate in competitions or practices; and to wear face coverings when possible.

The first official day of practice for all sports is Aug. 10.

Cross country guidance for girls is the same as that for boys, as issued by the IHSAA. Other sports’ guidance includes:


The biggest change this year is the protocol of switching sides between sets. The IGHSAU prcolaimed that teams “are not to switch benches between sets.” But, in the event that a clear and distinct disadvantage exists, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. Officials will determine if a disadvantage is present.

To help with social distancing, players are allowed to stand near the bench area (not just those in the active rotation), and along with players are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while on the bench. Sanitizing of hands is also required after warmups, timeouts, between sets and anytime after leaving the court.

Teams are limited to one coach and captain per team to participate in the pre-match coin-toss, with face masks strongly encouraged. Teams also must bring their own volleyballs for use during warmups, and are not allowed to warm up outside of the court near their opponents while their opponents have the court for the six-minute portion of the pre-match warm-up protocol. Host schools must have at least three volleyballs to use for the in-game ball rotation to allow for volleyballs to be sanitized while not in use.

Schools are asked to eliminate spectator seating in the front two rows if possible. The scorer’s table should be limited to the home team scorer, libero, tracker and timer, with visiting personnel – including statistician and scorer – asked to find an alternative location. Schools should also avoid playing matches simultaneously on side-by-side courts if possible.


Athletes are encouraged to arrive already dressed for competition, or the venue should provide alternative accommodations for swimmers and divers to change that allows for social distancing.

Just one person per lane should be permitted as lap counter at the turning end. A notification system, via use of hand signals or the public address system, will be used for disqualifications. Timers are asked to assemble at the finish of each race, at the edge of the pool within the 6-8 feet confines of the lane in which they are timing.

For relays, judges are required to work from the sides of the pool. Space relay swimmers apart from one another. Timers and relay takeoff judges are strongly encouraged to wear cloth facial coverings.

During diving competition, divers may not approach the board until their turn to compete.

Teams are asked to stay on opposite sides of the pool. A recommendation included having home teams compete in lanes 1-3, and visitors to swim in lanes 4-6.

Facility managers are asked to disinfect the pool before and after each practice and meet. It was also suggested that chlorine levels be increased, even though the Centers for Disease Control said there is no evidence that the coronavirus can be spread through the water in pools, and that proper operation and disinfection of the water should inactivate the virus.

Managers are also being asked to establish multiple sessions for warm-up periods to limit number of swimmers per lane, and restrict the number of swimmers in competition area, and number of swimmers per lane during warm-up and warm-down periods.

More information may be found on the IGHSAU’s guidance at its website at

To reach Brian Rathjen, send correspondence to or phone (712) 243-2624.