Athletes given the OK to return July 1 for Phase 1

Athletes have been given the OK to return July 1 for Phase 1 . (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- High school sports has been in a holding pattern since mid-March due to the coronavirus but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Athletes have been given the OK to return July 1 for what is called Phase 1, which is the first step in preparing for a return to competition after spring sports were canceled.

The National Federation of State High School Associations issued a release of guidelines schools could use as they prepare for the return to sports and there are three phases. These, however, are guidelines, not rules for a return.

Among the guidelines suggested are screening for coronavirus, gatherings of no more than 10 people, football, volleyball, basketball, baseball and softball players should not practice with the same ball/gloves and locker rooms should not be used.

Schools will use their own judgement in what they need to do to make a return as safe as possible, which means schools can differ in their approach.

"It's a great first step to hopefully getting back to some semblance of normal," West De Pere athletics director Scott Eggart said. "It's also very important for our athletes. Having the opportunity to see our kids and train our kids to prepare their bodies for a fall season goes a long way for injury prevention if we are fortunate enough to have our fall sports as planned.

"It will be a process with many steps as we implement our programs, but an exciting one with hopefully a much more exciting ending of watching games in the fall."

Fall sports begin practice in August with football being the first sport scheduled to practice, Aug.4.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay