As we start the 2021 season, we all need to be aware of the risks of COVID-19. The IHSAA created the recommendations and best practices outlined in this document that are meant to decrease potential exposure by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel, and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.

There are no NFHS rules being changed for COVID this season.
This document serves as a guide for recommendations and best practices.

Pre-match Conference & Coin Toss

  • Limit attendees to head coach from each team, first referee and second referee. Should a captain join the meeting and coin toss, maintain a social distance of 3 to 6 feet.
  • Move the location of the pre-match conference and coin toss to center court with one coach and one referee positioned on each side of the net. All four individuals maintain a social distance of 3 to 6 feet.

Team Benches (Established adoption, per NFHS Rules Committee)

  • Suspend the protocol of teams switching benches between sets. In the event there is a clear and distinct disadvantage, which will only be discussed during the pre-match conference, teams may switch sides, observing all social distancing protocols. The officials will discuss if a disadvantage is present, with the judgement call being made by the First Referee. Should there be a clear and distinct disadvantage, i.e. stationary basketball backboard on one side, it will be communicated prior to the end of the pre-match conference. This will alleviate any requests during the match, which could result in a potential delay of game call.
  • Limit bench personnel to observe social distancing of 3 to 6 feet. Host administration will determine the social distancing of the team benches. Team benches may be in a two-row format, with the first row still maintaining six-feet from the sideline.

Deciding Set Procedures

  • Move the location of the deciding set coin toss to center court and maintain the appropriate social distance of 3 to 6 feet. A coin toss, called by the home team, will decide serve/receive.

Substitution Procedures

  • Maintain social distancing of 3 to 6 feet between the second referee and the player and substitute by encouraging substitutions to occur within the substitution zone closer to the attack line.

Officials Table

  • Limit to essential personnel which includes home team scorer, libero tracker, timer, and announcer, with a recommend distance of 3 to 6 feet between individuals. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an alternative location.

Pre and Post Match Ceremony

  • Establish volleyball specific social distancing match protocols including the elimination of handshakes before and after the match.

Equipment & Accessories

  • Warm-up Balls & Water: It is recommended teams travel with their own game equipment and water. Teams are to utilize and sanitize their volleyballs during and after the warmup period.
  • Sanitizing Game Equipment: It is the responsibility of the coaching staff and host administration to adhere to the document composed by Wilson Sporting Goods, which was sent to all and is posted on myIHSAA, stating the sanitizing methods from the CDC, state and local guidelines for health and safety for sanitizing game equipment for contests. The ‘Single Game Ball Cleaning Method’ must be performed by the host administration prior to the match. During the match, the ‘Quick Turn Leather Cleaning Method’ must be used, at minimum, in between sets. If utilizing ball girls, host administration must determine best practices for sanitizing rotating volleyballs.
  • Scrimmage (Transition Format): The two free balls must be sanitized by the host administration prior to the coach releasing the ball into play.

Best Practices for Coaches

  • Communicate your guidelines in a clear manner to student-athletes and parents.
  • Conduct workouts in “pods” of same student-athletes always training and rotating together in practice to ensure more limited exposure if someone develops an infection.

Best Practices for Officials & Meet Personnel

  • Bring personal hand sanitizer and/or wash hands frequently.
  • Do not share equipment.
  • Follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Utilize an electronic whistle.
  • If using an electronic whistle, bring an extra battery.
  • Final score should still be verified by the Second Referee.
  • Post Match: Scorekeeper prints scoresheet and signs for the official, should the official ask to do so.

Best Practices for Parents

  • Make sure student-athlete and immediate household members are free from illness before participating in practice and competition, if there is doubt stay home!

Provide personal items for student-athlete