Last week, the New Mexico Activities Association said that noncontact sports may resume workouts after a "dead period" that lasted more than a month in the state.

NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said that the decision to resume workouts came after local superintendents around the state decided to vote in favor of local autonomy, meaning that it's up to individual districts to allow – or disallow – workouts currently.

Taos Municipal Schools superintendent Lillian Torrez said she voted in favor of leaving the decision of workouts to the districts.

"Individual practices because our 89 districts are very different and have specific situations occurring in their areas," Torrez said.

Taos sports teams – like football and volleyball – were working out as recently as early July before workouts were canceled amid what athletic director Mae LaBella said was a "protocol infraction."

Then the dead period came, shortly after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that contact sports like football and soccer would not be permitted after a spike in cases of the novel coronavirus.

Torrez said that workouts, for now, are still off and that the decision to let them resume will come in September.

"It depends on whether we delay school," Torrez said "A decision will be made in September."

Torrez said that the reopening recommendation committee for the TMS district will be proposing a recommendation for school reentry this Wednesday (Aug. 26) and that a decision will be made by Sept. 8 – for both in-person schooling and practice for athletics.

Marquez said that contact sports – football, soccer, basketball and wrestling – are still not permitted to workout, saying that these sports are still too high risk.

"Under the governor's orders, those four sports are contact sports – and yes, they are high-risk sports," Marquez said. "At this point, under governor's orders, we are not able to practice in basketball, wrestling, football and soccer. Conditioning can take place, but as far as practicing those four sports we are not able to do at this time."

For the most part, the same protocols apply for workouts such as COVID-19 screening – like temperature checks – and the 5:1 pod system (five players to every one coach). However, athletes musk now wear masks throughout practice – and the same for coaches.

The NMAA said that neck gaiters aren't allowed "during participation due to the risk of unintended injury to the person wearing the gaiter as well as its lack of efficacy in reducing respiratory particles."

Weight rooms will be allowed for use, just at 25 percent capacity.

Fall sports seasons begin on Oct. 5 for schools around the state. Most other sports – including fall contact sports like soccer and football – will be postponed until the spring.

Taos has golf, volleyball and cross-country all starting up in October. Cross-country begins on Oct. 10 with a virtual home meet, golf begins on Oct. 12 with the Taos Invite and volleyball competition begins on Oct. 13 at Santa Fe Indian School.

Editor's Note: In the print version of this article, we referred to "workouts" as "practices." They are not the same, as workouts refer to the summer guidelines laid out by the NMAA. The Taos News heavily regrets this error. 

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