After the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) announced new conditioning guidelines for athletes and coaches, the Monticello high school coaches grouped their student athletes in sets of nine with one coach assigned to each group.

As stated in the new IHSA guidelines, “Coaches must maintain a daily record of what athletes are participating, when, symptoms they may present. Athletes should be monitored at start of practice for temperature >100.4F/37C or symptoms of COVID-19 (fevers, chills, cough, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of taste or smell). If symptoms are present they should not participate in practice and should be referred to a physician for evaluation and testing.”

To help temperature monitoring, the Kirby Ambulance Service donated 25 thermometers and two boxes of thermometer covers to the high school.

When Director of Ambulance Services Crystal Alexander learned about the new guidelines for athletes, she reached out to Heidi Apperson, the Director of Marketing and Community Relations at Kirby Medical Center, and asked if the ambulance service had anything available.

“We want to thank Kirby Ambulance for donating 25 thermometers that we’ve been able to distribute to our fall coaches just to help speed up the process between that some of the forehead infrareds that we bought,” said Monticello activities director Daniel Sheehan. “And again, it’s just another precautionary measure to ensure the safely of all our students athletes.”

Apperson has been offering thermometers to more than high school athletes, including to nonprofits, community organizations, and businesses that might need them for Covid-19 related concerns.

“We have been offering thermometers to places and organizations that might need them,” Apperson said. “So if anyone is interested or needs a thermometer they can reach out to me at happerson@kirbyhealth.org. And I will try to do my best to get them whatever they might need for anything Covid-19 related. Especially for charity organizations or people who are out in the community.”

Apperson ordered the thermometers and covers way back in mid-March when everything was shutting down.

“I think it was March 17 when everything kind of shut down,” she said, “and we started limiting victors and stuff. I went online and purchased a bulk order of thermometers. I still have some supply left, and that’s where we’re pulling it from.”

As far as how the thermometers and new condition guidelines are going, Sheehan said, “So far so good. We have all our kids broken down into groups. I think it took more time to get the groups established, but now that we are in routine, things are going well.”

To help with the new conditioning program, the coaches created a second weight room in the track shed, which allows more kids through the conditioning workouts in a shorter timeframe.

Once those groups go home, a secondary group of athletes come in for the same conditioning cycles.

According to the IHSA, “Sessions can only include weightlifting, running, and exercises designed to promote physical fitness. Sport-specific drills are not permitted, and sport-specific equipment may not be used.”

The new conditioning schedule will run from 6-9 a.m. for the football program.

The soccer team, cross country runners and volleyball will also break up into sets of nine with one coach per group.

The soccer team will be conditioning on the soccer field and on the track.

The cross country team will continue using Lodge Park and the town.