A decision will be made very soon regarding the immediate future of Eufaula’s Parks and Recreation baseball and softball leagues, according to Director Keef Pettis.

“We’ve been talking to the Alabama Parks and Recreation Association, as well as Dixie Softball and Dixie Baseball. We want to make sure we’re doing what’s best for the kids... their safety.”

Pettis talked with city officials and Parks and Rec board members Thursday morning.

Some Alabama towns have scheduled seasons while others have chosen to not have a season due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Alabama High School Athletic Association and the Alabama Independent School Association (see Page 7) have announced that players can return to voluntary workouts on Monday. It will be the first time they have been allowed to do so since schools closed early due to COVID-19.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said there would be no athletic group limitations beginning June 1, but some schools are not comfortable with getting student-athletes together and have chosen not to do so.

The AISA said there will be no 7-on-7 or OTA’s in football or any play dates in other sports this summer.

“We’re not back to normal,” AHSAA executive director Steve Savarese said during a video conference Wednesday for AHSAA member schools and coaches. “It’s going to take you longer to do what you want to do and you are teaching a different way to do it.

“We encourage you to accommodate the students who are uncomfortable with returning. There are parents who are not ready to let their kids return to school. As you know, summer workouts are not mandatory, or under the jurisdiction of the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Please, do not hold against any child, the time that they miss during the workouts because mom and dad weren’t ready for their kids to return.”

While optimistic about football returning this fall, Savarese also stressed that precautions taken now will likely be the determining factor.

“The actions that you take in trying to prevent the virus will not eliminate this risk, but by following these guidelines we’ll mitigate the risk,” Savarese said. “That should be our goal — to mitigate the risk — not only for our students, but for you the coach, you the administrator, and anyone else associated with your program.

“It’s a lot easier for us to open our schools than it will be to stay open. But I’m counting on you administrators, coaches and support staff, and your leadership, by following the Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines. If we do this, hopefully we’ll be able to have a normal fall season. But again, you’re leadership is vital as we make every attempt to provide the safest environment under the current health guidelines.”

Coaches are expected to wear masks around the students during the workouts and social distancing should be practiced within the groups.

“Any time you as a coach are around the kids, you should have a face covering,” Savarese said. “Remember, it’s not only protecting the students, it’s protecting you the coach as you go through this process.

“You need to acclimate your students to these Department of Public Health guidelines — not come in the first day and see how much a player can lift again, but to teach them how to acclimate themselves to these guidelines.”

Eufaula High School is set to open its football season Aug. 21 at Ozark’s Carroll High School.

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