Today marks a milestone in the SouthCoast's journey to live a more normal life during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Back in September, the South Coast Conference made the decision to forego fall sports and move competition to a special "floating season" that will be crunched in between winter and spring sports. The decision was made while school officials were still grappling with how to effectively and safely open schools for learning. Athletics were forced into the backseat for the time being.

That time is now. The South Coast Conference is back in business. High school sports returns this week with the return of boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, and swimming. Not on the list is competitive cheer or wrestling because of the difficulties in modifying the sports enough to make them acceptably COVID-compliant.

The student-athletes will be expected to wear masks both on the bench and during competition. Players will maintain social distancing on the bench, sitting at least six feet apart and always sitting in the same spot. Team handshakes will not be allowed.

There will be some modifications made to specific games. For example, halftime is going to be eliminated in basketball. Instead, the time in between quarters will be lengthened to two and a half minutes. You can also expect to see quick whistles from referees during loose ball situations. The goal is to limit the close contact between players during the scramble for the ball.

Fans will be limited to home teams only with two spectators per player, and the home team will keep records of the people who attend.

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