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The New Mexico Activities Association has announced the end of the statewide dead period, which had been scheduled to run from the first day of school until Oct. 5.

The seasons for cross country, volleyball and fall golf are now in the hands of local control.

The dead period prohibited coaches from meeting with their teams face-to-face, preventing teams from holding organized practices.

The goal of the dead period was to give athletes a chance to focus all of their attention on the beginning of the school year and to allow them to acclimate to classes without worrying about their sport at the same time.

In response to the decision, Belen Consolidated Schools has announced that the dead period for the district began on Monday, Aug. 24, and will run through Sept. 4, with practices allowed to resume on Tuesday, Sept. 8, following Labor Day weekend.

Los Lunas Schools has decided to extend the dead period indefinitely and will re-evaluate following the Labor Day holiday.

“Safety is our No. 1 concern and we will do everything within our control to keep students and staff safe during the pandemic,” Los Lunas athletic director Wilson Holland wrote in an email. “Los Lunas Schools would like students to focus their efforts on acclimating themselves to online learning. We will reevaluate the dead period after the Labor Day weekend holiday.”

Holland said the decision will be based on how students are doing with remote learning, as well as on whatever the latest guidance from the governor’s office is. He is hopeful the NMAA will be allowed to move into phase two of their return-to-play plan, though it is unclear exactly what phase two would look like.

The updated guidelines also allow the sports which had their summer workouts paused in July to return to the field for conditioning. This includes soccer, football and other sports, such as wrestling and basketball.

The programs will have to adhere to the out-of-season guidelines for workouts, limiting practice time to 7 1/2 hours per week.

All of the coronavirus-specific guidelines, such as the 5-to-1 pods and required masks during practice will need to be maintained.

Teams are not allowed to practice with any equipment in order to limit contact as much as possible and keep workouts to strictly conditioning.

Those sports, which were allowed to continue practicing following the pause on contact sports, will be able to resume practice in full, assuming they remain in compliance with the social distancing guidelines and pods mandated by the NMAA.

The beginning of the fall sports season, which will include volleyball, golf and cross country, is still scheduled to begin on Monday, Oct. 5, with games following competition beginning in the days that follow.

The seasons will be shortened to 10 weeks, with the championships for cross country and volleyball occurring during the first two weeks in December, with the cross country finals and the volleyball quarterfinals taking place Dec. 4-5.

In order to comply with the no overnight travel mandate, the volleyball championships are split across two weeks, with the semi-finals and finals to take place Dec. 8-12.

Sports writer

Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.

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