Booker T. Washington's Gentry Williams tries to slip away from a Bixby last Oct. 4. Tulsa Public Schools has issued new guidelines for use of TPS athletic facilities during the 2020-21 academic year, including for sporting events. CORY YOUNG/for the Tulsa World

The Tulsa Public Schools district has issued new guidelines for use of TPS athletic facilities during the 2020-21 academic year.

First and foremost, masks or face coverings will be required for all participants, coaches, workers, patrons, campus police or anyone entering an athletic facility, in accordance with a City of Tulsa ordinance.

The continued threat of the coronavirus will make the fall of 2020 “different than any sport season that any of us have encountered,” director of athletics Gil Cloud said in a TPS news release emailed to district patrons and media outlets late Friday afternoon.

The guidelines were developed with input from TPS superintendent Deborah Gist, deputy superintendent Paula Shannon, TPS sports medicine coordinator Steve Friebus, recommendations from the city of Tulsa and City-County Health Department and in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control.

Social distancing protocols will be in effect and patrons should sit in designated seating areas while attending events in district facilities.

For the fall season, outdoor venues will have some seating areas marked unavailable and patrons should avoid sitting in prohibited areas.

Players, officials and coaches may remove their masks when they reach their respective venues.

Under special guidelines for volleyball, coaches must wear facemasks at all times and the protocol for teams switching benches between sets is suspended. TPS will not allow spectators in its facilities for volleyball in 2020.

While sportsmanship is recognized as paramount to developing character in young people, the district is discouraging handshakes between teams before and after games to reduce contact as much as possible.

When a TPS team is traveling, the school’s athletic director should report on the health status of the team to the athletic director of the home school.

Athletic trainers for both schools should communicate prior to a contest about special arrangements that the home school should make.

Locker rooms will be accessible to teams only for pregame or halftime. Visiting teams are requested to come dressed and ready to play.

All shared equipment will be sanitized periodically during the contest.

Masks will be required in the locker rooms, athletic training rooms, coaches’ offices and any area considered outside of the playing field or court.

For participants, officials, and coaches, no shared towels, clothing, shoes, clothing or water bottles are allowed. Individual student-athletes and coaches are to bring their own water bottles to the venue.

Only pre-approved personnel will be allowed in the press box or at the scorer’s table. Visiting teams will need to contact the site athletics director for accommodation at the scorer’s table or in the press box.

Hospitality suites will have only prepackaged food and individual bottles of pop or water.

When traveling to and from road events, bus drivers, coaches, athletic trainers and athletes must wear face coverings.

Mike Brown