High school baseball, softball return to Iowa amid coronavirus pandemic

Iowa became the first state in the United States to have high school sports return since the coronavirus pandemic put a stop on everything sports-related back in March.

Iowa schools were allowed to begin practicing for baseball and softball on Monday, but there are numerous precautions in place to make sure that all of the athletes are healthy and safe.

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Teams are expected to go through temperature checks before games and practices; dugouts will be closed off during practices; equipment will be sanitized after use; the spitting of sunflower seed shells is banned; any pitcher who blows on their hands will have to sanitize their hands before continuing to make sure the baseball or softball is not infected.

Both the Iowa’s Department of Education and Department of Health worked with the unions for the boys and girls high school sports to come up with that list of guidelines to abide by. The executive director of the Iowa High School Girls Athletic Union, Jean Berger, told ESPN that now is a good time to start up both sports due to the social distant nature of baseball and softball.

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"This is a change in behavior for our kids,” Berger said. “We have to teach them to wash their hands more often and sanitize. Think about how many times a ballplayer touches their face. They spit. They chew seed. Before they get into the batter's box, they have all these little idiosyncrasies. We have to retrain. This is the summer of being a mom for us -- don't touch your face, go wash your hands."