High school student-athletes have gotten back in the gyms, on the fields and in the weight rooms at Roseburg High School this week as the school looks to “re-engage” with the student body despite still not having them in the classroom.

RHS athletic director Russ Bolin announced that student-athletes would be welcome to return to workouts in an email to students and families at the end of September. Limited activities resumed on Monday during what the Oregon School Activities Association is calling Season 1.

“It’s been a real blessing for us to get out and be with the athletes again,” Roseburg baseball coach Troy Thompson said. “It’s been a long time off, but to have the chance to at least get back on the field and have the opportunity to do some activities with them here this fall is a great thing.”

Official sports competitions won’t begin until season two in January 2021, but the OSAA is allowing schools to use this fall season to hold training sessions with student-athletes, as long as it is approved by the local school district and public health authorities.

Nearly all of Roseburg High’s sports offerings are holding some sort of training this month. The different sports teams are trading off days with each other to juggle the use of school facilities and to slowly ease student-athletes back into activities.

Workouts have focused on getting student-athletes back in motion. The sessions will consist of strength and conditioning and some technical drills.

Thompson says workouts with his players have had a different feel than the typically fast-paced preseasons that high school teams get before a season begins.

“We can spend more time on some basics and fundamentals, but at the same time we want to make sure we incorporate some fun things that our kids want to do,” Thompson said. “It’s just a nice thing to be out here with our players.”

In his email, Bolin emphasized that these training sessions are voluntary and are designed to provide an acclimatization period for a safe return to physical activity. Social and emotional health is also a priority for Bolin and not necessarily gaining a competitive advantage.

Practices have been scheduled through October, so far. The dates, times and locations of workouts can be found on the RHS website.

Safety precautions are being taken in accordance with the Oregon Health Authority, the Oregon Department of Education and the OSAA.

Players and coaches were wearing face masks and social distancing at Wednesday’s baseball practice, something Thompson says is just part of the puzzle in returning to the field.

“The kids have done a great job keeping their distance, wearing their masks and doing all the things we have to do to be here and that won’t change,” Thompson said. “We have some strict guidelines and we’ll certainly do the best we can to follow those so we can continue to have our athletes (at Roseburg High School) coming back to their sports.”

To no surprise, returning to practice has been a welcome addition to the new routines for student-athletes this school year.

“It feels good to be back out playing with everyone,” Roseburg junior Dawson Gillespie said. “Most of the kids probably haven’t really been doing anything, so it’s good to be active again and be playing again.”

Joey Keeran is the sports director for KSKR The Score.

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