Athletic Department Overview
Return To Play Procedures & Protocols - September 19, 2020
Members of the Grafton Athletics Community:
The health and safety of our students and our student-athletes is my top priority.
As a district, we understand that our students are ready to return to their activities, but we must achieve that goal with the highest regard for their physical well-being.
Our district takes the recommendations from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), the Southern Worcester County League (SWCL), and the District Athletic Committee (DAC) for District Two.
Additionally, the MIAA’s Sports Medicine Task Force and the COVID-19 Task Force developed sport modifications after months of meetings, discussions, research, and collaboration with Massachusetts governing entities.
By using the recommendations, advice, and guidelines from these groups, we have developed the Fall 2020 Return to Athletics Plan, a set of procedures and protocols that will help ensure a safe and successful return to interscholastic athletics.
This document will give a blueprint for what we can expect when it comes to what athletics will look like when we begin participation on October 5, 2020.
Central Massachusetts is comprised of schools in District 2 and District 3. Those districts have been broken up into pods that will allow us to participate against teams that are close in proximity.
The teams that make up our POD are:
· Blackstone Valley Tech
· Whitinsville Christian
As always, we will all need to be flexible and understanding when it comes to what lies ahead as we continuously navigate these unchartered waters.
Director of Athletics
Athletics Update - September 10, 2020
Members of the Grafton Athletics Community:
I hope this message finds you all healthy, safe, rested and ready for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. Without question we have all faced unprecedented challenges as we try figure out the new normal.
The date for when athletics was set to begin was Friday, September 18 and was established by the MIAA to allow for students, staff and faculty to acclimate to the start of the school year. With our start date for school being Wednesday, September 16 that was not possible. For instance, if you are in cohort B, you would begin practicing with your teammates before ever stepping foot inside the building and the last thing any of us would want is for athletics to be an impediment to the learning process.
With that being said, it is with an abundance of caution that the principals and athletic directors of the Southern Worcester County League (SWCL) with the approval of the District Athletic Committee (DAC), voted to push the start of the 2020 Fall I season to Monday, October 5.
Tryouts and practices can begin on that day and the first date of allowable competition will be on Monday, October 19 with the season culminating the week of November 20.
The delayed start will allow for the entire school population to get acclimated to the new way of learning. Several districts in the league are 100% remote learning, while others, like Grafton, are using the hybrid model.
As a group, the SWCL Presidents released the following statement:
"We make this decision with the best interests of our respective schools and communities in mind and with the hope of being able to have as normal a regular season as possible, particularly when we consider the multiple variables presented to us in this pandemic. Our primary responsibility remains the mental and physical well-being of all our students, including our student-athletes. With the number of responsibilities we have to ensure a safe opening to school, balancing against the wants and needs of our communities and the desire to participate in a fall season, the decision to start the season at all was challenging. Providing an additional week or two of planning allows us to prioritize the difficult task of having students and staff safely back in our buildings before we add the variables that come with interscholastic athletics, including safely planning, transportation, mixing of student cohorts and finalizing athletic schedules."
"While we know that there are some individuals who will be disappointed with the decision, we remain inspired by the resilience of our athletes, hopeful for the opportunity to have a fall season, and committed to ensuring that our staff and students, including all of our coaches and student-athletes, have a safe return to the 2020-21 school year amidst variables none of us could have ever predicted or imagined. In these unusual and uncertain circumstances, we appreciate everyone's patience, flexibility and understanding and we look forward to being able to cheer on our student-athletes in a couple of short weeks."
With the MIAA eliminating postseason tournaments for the fall, members of District 2 and District 3 – which covers all of Central Massachusetts – have developed a pod system for opponents based on geographical locations and schedules are being developed and that framework has begun to take place and will be released in the coming weeks.
Although the sports of cross country, field hockey, golf and soccer are cleared to participate, these sports will look drastically different (rule modifications, programmatic philosophy) from what they have in the past. Everyone must understand that this will not be a season like any other so please begin to adjust mindsets accordingly. Our goal is to provide a wellness-filled, safe athletic environment for our student-athletes.
What you can expect is an 8-10 game schedule (cross country will be less) and limited spectators at all Grafton athletic facilities. There may be opportunities for sports that have been moved to Fall II (fall cheer, football, girls volleyball, unified basketball) to participate in some organized team activities but that will be announced at a later date. The dates for Fall II are February 22, 2021 - April 25, 2021.
As we get closer to the start of the season, I will be conducting virtual meetings with each program (myself, coaches, student-athletes and families) to review topics related what the specific team’s season will look like.
As I’ve stated in my previous communications to you all, the health and safety of our students will always sit at the top of my priority list. I will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
Director of Athletics
IMPACT Baseline Concussion Test - September 10, 2020
Returning And Prospective Student-Athletes:
Athletic registration for Fall 2020 has been underway for more than a week now, so please don’t wait to signup.
All students participating in athletics at Grafton High School MUST have a completed ImPACT Baseline Concussion Test in order to participate.
Baseline testing will be required every TWO years in order to maintain accurate baseline data and ensure the highest quality of assessment, management, and care of concussions.
Therefore, mandatory baseline testing applies to all incoming freshmen, all students entering their junior year, and any student that has not previously played a sport at Grafton High School.
Following a suspected and/or diagnosed concussion, post-injury ImPACT tests may be administered by the Certified Athletic Trainer to monitor recovery and determine a student’s return to play status.
**Note: Student-athletes should be using the ImPACT program for baseline concussion testing via the link provided, NOT the NFHS Concussion Course**
Please click on the link below and enter the following code to complete the ImPACT Baseline Concussion Test:
GHS Athletics Code: 9ICGFQKADR
**Attention** This website requires Adobe Flash Player, so you must take it on a computer using the Firefox, Google Chrome, or Internet Explorer browsers. Be sure to disable any pop-up blockers, as the test will appear in a pop-up window. DO NOT copy and paste the code. The test will not work unless you manually enter the GHS Athletics Code.
Grafton High Athletics Signups - September 1, 2020
Returning And Prospective Student-Athletes:
The signups for athletics will be opened today, Tuesday, September 1 at 3:00 PM. Please have your parents sign in to their Parent PowerSchool Portal and begin the process. Remember, click on any link on the left-hand side (grades, balance, etc.) then click on the blue athletics registration link.
Be sure to do the following:
- Carefully read and follow all directions.
- Review and update emergency contact, allergy and conditions information.
- Review and acknowledge mandatory opioid and concussion statements
- E-sign and submit clearance form.
Please remember to provide a complete physical exam dated and signed by a physician. Telehealth physicals are not accepted. It has to be an in-person physical. ConvenientMD is offering $20 physicals at their offices in Bellingham and Framingham.
One completed, please drop off that physical at the high school or you can email it to Sarah Mealy, Head Athletic Trainer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out (email@example.com).
2020-21 Grafton High Athletics Update - August 24, 2020
Members of the Grafton Athletics Community,
After months of planning and thoughtful and direct deliberation, several state government agencies and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) agreed on a return to play plan for high school athletics in the Commonwealth.
The MIAA Board of Directors unanimously voted 24-0 to begin fall athletics on September 18, 2020. There will continue to be discussion with Individual Sport Committees and the Sports Medicine Committee to develop recommendations for modifications for fall sports and then the final modifications will be announced during the first week in September.
As a member of the Southern Worcester County League (SWCL), we pride ourselves on the competition between each of those schools. However, the BOD from the MIAA voted unanimously to encourage schools to create fall schedules based on geographic regions. So, competition will occur between Grafton and some of those familiar schools, but not all.
In addition, the BOD also voted unanimously to not allow for any MIAA sponsored Fall Postseason Tournaments, however, leagues are allowed to host postseason tournaments as long as they adhere to EEA guidelines.
Also, as a member of Massachusetts District 2, after feedback from league representatives, the District Athletic Committee (DAC) voted to move football, fall cheer, unified basketball and volleyball from the fall season to the floating season. Additional sports may be shifted as well.
Below is the breakdown of what athletics will look like for the 2020-21 school year. Please keep in mind that we have the ability to adjust dates with the approval of the DAC, which allows for flexibility if school districts have to postpone a season at some point.
More information will come over the next 7-10 days and we will continue to keep all everyone informed as we navigate the return of high school athletics.
Grafton High Director of Athletics
FALL SEASON (September 18 – November 20, 2020)
- Cross Country (Boys and Girls)
- Soccer (Boys and Girls)
- Field Hockey
- Swim & Dive
WINTER SEASON (November 30, 2020 – February 21, 2021)
- Basketball (Boys and Girls)
- Winter Cheer
- Indoor Track & Field (Boys and Girls)
- Swim & Dive
FLOATING SEASON (February 22, 2021 – April 25, 2021)
- Fall Cheer
- Unified Basketball
- Girls Volleyball
SPRING SEASON (April 26, 2021 – July 3, 2021)
- Lacrosse (Boys and Girls)
- Tennis (Boys & Girls)
- Outdoor Track & Field
- Unified Track
2020 Fall Athletics Season Update And FAQs
Members of the Grafton Community:
Hello from the Athletics Department at Grafton High School. My name is Kevin Anderson and I was named the Athletic Director at GHS and GMS earlier this month.
While my first official day isn’t until August 13 (Thursday), I wanted to provide some information regarding the fall season of athletics. Please keep in mind while reading this, the situation remains fluid and parts or all of this can change at the drop of a hat.
I’m sure everyone involved in or who is associated with athletics has a lot of questions. Don’t’ worry, I still have a ton of unanswered questions myself as we all await guidance from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and our state government.
This document is simply to try and provide the community with everything we know with regards to the fall 2020 season.
With decisions beginning to occur, it is important for parents, student-athletes and other members of the Grafton Athletics community to stay connected via Twitter (@GraftonAD), Schoology and the GPS website.
Below are some frequently asked questions that may have crossed your mind as we head into the start of academic year.
What Do We Know About The Fall 2020 Athletic Season?
In a meeting back on July 21, the Board of Directors of the MIAA (which includes GHS Principal, Mr. Pignataro) voted to delay the start of the season until September 14 – this means that Monday, September 14 is the first day for tryouts, practices, etc. and not the first date of competition.
With The Delayed Opening And Total School Day Reduction Recently Announced, What Affect Will There Be On Fall Athletics?
The aforementioned September 14 date could be adjusted based on several different factors. However, schedules are constantly under construction and will be made available as soon as possible following more guidance being issued by the MIAA Board of Directors at some point this week.
When Are Sports Signups Happening?
It is my expectations that signups for athletics will be made available in the next 5-7 days. Be on the lookout via Twitter (@GraftonAD), Schoology, E-Mail and Powerschool.
What Can I Do To Help?
Practice social distancing whenever possible. If that is not possible, then wear a face covering to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Our best chance at having a fall season relies on the Grafton community working together to try and stay in front of COVID-19.
What Should I Do About A Physical?
The MIAA requires all students to have a current (within 395 days of the first day of the sports season) physical documented by a health provider on file with the school nurse in order to try out for any team. The student-athlete and their parent/guardian is responsible for making sure a valid physical is always on file with the nurse. A physical exam expires 395 days (one year and one month) after the date of the exam.
Remember to keep an eye on the expiration date of your physical. Once it expires, the student is no longer eligible for athletics and participation in their sport is not permitted until an updated physical is on file.
Can We Have “Captains’ Practices”?
“Captains’ Practices” are not sanctioned by the MIAA or by GHS. Student-athletes are allowed to work out together – as long as they are following Governor Baker’s guidelines to reopening – but these work outs are NOT a function of the school and they are definitely NOT mandatory.
It is my sincere hope that athletics get to be a part of the 2020-21 school year as it provides a challenging, supportive and caring environment helping our student-athletes reach their academic, athletic and personal potential. However, the focus for us at GHS is and will always be the health, safety and general welfare of all of our student-athletes.
Athletics at Grafton High School are an extension of the academic school day. Therefore, the athletic program will enhance the preparation of students intellectually, physically, and socially for their role as life-long learners and responsible citizens with a focus on sportsmanship, responsibililty, commitment, and community.
- To provide opportunities for physical, mental, and emotional growth
- To develop confidence and self-esteem
- To develop and understand the concepts of individual and team play
- To learn that good sportsmanship means winning and losing with grace and dignity
- To learn to make decisions under pressure
- To become an involved member of the community
***Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Alert***
As of Tuesday, April 21st, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker and his administration extended school closures through the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and its Board of Directors will be releasing a public statement regarding subsequent cancellation of the Spring 2020 athletic season following the most up-to-date guidance and recommendations from local, state, and national governing health agencies, in light of the novel COVID-19 pandemic.
Little is known about this newly recognized virus, but transmission appears to occur easily from human-to-human. Accordingly, on March 10th, Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration declared a state of emergency. All questions regarding the impact this may have on the Grafton Public Schools should be directed to the Office of the Superintendent. The Grafton Public Schools coronavirus information page can be found here.
Grafton Athletics remains steadfastly committed to providing as much information to student-athletes, parents/guardians, coaches, staff, etc. as possible under these uncertain and unusual circumstances. Per the most recent MIAA communication, ALL Spring 2020 athletics will, regrettably, be CANCELLED. This decision will has been reviewed by the MIAA Board of Directors, and ultimately made with the health, safety, and general well-being of MIAA-member schools in mind, and with the latest evidence-based guidance from all governing health agencies. Out of an abundance of caution, and in order to closely follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MA DPH), ALL Grafton High School athletic facilities are closed indefinitely, including informal/formal team gatherings, team practices, captains' practices, scrimmages, jamborees, "shooting around", etc. In the coming weeks and months, GHS Athletics will release further information regarding Fall 2020 athletic registration information and standard pre-season clearance communications. All clearance documentation may be submitted via email to GHS Athletic Trainer - Ms. Mealy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We realize this is frustrating and disappointing, but as always, our ultimate goal is to provide a safe environment for healthy participation in educational athletics by our student population and, subsequently, our friends, family, and many supporters. All future updates will be made in the best interest of these individuals, and will be communicated frequently via this website, Twitter (@GraftonAD), Schoology, and/or email. As this unpredictable situation evolves over time, please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or concerns, as they relate to GHS/GMS Athletics (email@example.com). While we appreciate the continued patience and cooperation of all community members throughout this pandemic, we still ask you to remain vigilant in practicing "social distancing", proper hand washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, and all other techniques to stem the spread of this virus. Several public health agencies have released public statements regarding COVID-19, along with a large variety of educational resources, some of which are provided in the links below. While school buildings have been closed through the end of the academic year on June 12th, this does not mean that school itself, the learning that takes place in and out of the classroom, our collective sense of community and belonging to our teams are cancelled. Teachers, coaches, staff, and administration are all an email away, and are here to help our students and athletes in whatever way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out.
The 2020 Annual GHS Athletics Awards Event can be viewed on the Official Grafton High News and Mr. GHS 2020 Youtube pages, beginning at 7:00pm on Tuesday, June 2nd. The event program is linked below, and will go active at 7:00pm on Tuesday, June 2nd. Class of 2020 Seniors can pick up their awards, letters, pins, and blankets at GHS during the designated graduation bag times on Wednesday, June 3rd.