Important Information on Students Displaced as a result of Hurricane Dorian

Gainesville, FL. (September 10, 2019) - The FHSAA office considers the destruction from Hurricane Dorian to be an event that was beyond the control of the student and his/her parent or guardian. Subsequently, the FHSAA is granting a provisional undue hardship eligibility waiver to all students displaced from the Bahamas as a direct result of Hurricane Dorian.

The displaced student is permitted to represent your school in interscholastic competition once the student:

  1. is enrolled in your school;
  2. has undergone a “Preparticipation Physical Evaluation” (EL2) conducted by a qualified practitioner in the state of Florida;
  3. has submitted a signed “Consent and Release from Liability Certificate” (EL3);
  4. has submitted a signed “Affidavit of Compliance with FHSAA Policy on Athletic Recruiting” (GA4); and
  5. has reviewed the required NFHS Learn courses for participation. 

Please note, the procedures for Exertional Heat Illness, outlined in FHSAA Policy 41.5, must be followed.

 

Q: The displaced student did not relocate to Florida with his/her parents or guardians, but rather has been sent here to live with other relatives or family friends.  Who is permitted to sign the EL2, EL3 and GA4?

A: The individual with whom the displaced student is now living, acting in loco parentis, may sign the paperwork required for participation.

 

Q: The displaced student was already practicing at his/her previous school before Hurricane Dorian.  Does he/she still need to undergo the heat acclimatization period outlined in FHSAA Policy 41.5?

A: Yes, the acclimatization period is mandatory. The school must be able to verify that the student-athlete is properly conditioned to participate in the sport. The health and safety of the student-athlete must come first.

 

You must make your best effort to determine the eligibility of the displaced student with regards to academic eligibility, limit of eligibility and age.  If the student cannot provide a transcript and/or proof of age, you should attempt to contact the Bahamas School Athletic Alliance (BSAA) and ask them if the student was eligible to participate in the Bahamas. The student will be considered eligible for the first semester of the 2019-20 school year, if the student was eligible in accordance with the BSAA policies.  Beginning with the second semester, however, the student’s academic eligibility will be determined by FHSAA bylaws and policies in accordance with Florida statutes.

 

Q: Must we hold the displaced student out of competition until we get confirmation of his/her eligibility from the BSAA Office?

A: No, you may allow the displaced student to participate in competition once the student has enrolled, completed the necessary paperwork and viewed the required NFHS Learn courses. It may take time to get confirmation of the student’s eligibility from the BSAA. Their staff is overwhelmed dealing with their own hurricane-related matters. If the BSAA Office responds that the student is ineligible in accordance with their rules, remove the student from competition and contact the FHSAA Office immediately. Your school will be held harmless.

 

Q: The displaced student’s previous school does not require a cumulative 2.0 grade point average for academic eligibility.  If the displaced student was academically eligible at his/her previous school, is he/she eligible in Florida? 

A: If the displaced student was academically eligible in the Bahamas, they will be academically eligible in Florida for the remainder of the first semester. If you can obtain the displaced student’s official transcript, you must determine academic eligibility in accordance with Florida statutes. 

 

Q: There’s a possibility we won’t receive an official transcript for the displaced student before the second semester begins. How do we determine academic eligibility for the second semester?

A: Beginning with the second semester, the displaced student must abide by Florida’s 2.0 GPA standard for academic eligibility. If you receive the displaced student’s official transcript from his/her previous school, calculate the cumulative GPA as you would any other student relocating to your school. If you do not receive the official transcript, the student’s GPA will be based solely on his/her first semester grades at your school.

 

Q: The student is unable to provide Proof of Age (birth certificate, visa, passport, etc.). How do we verify the student’s age?

A: An affidavit of age sworn by the parent and/or legal guardian, accompanied by a certificate of age signed by a public health officer or by a public-school physician, must be on file with the EL2, EL3 and GA4. If these are not available in your county or to the member school, the certificate of age must be signed by a licensed physician designated by the school district board or the school’s governing body (in the case of non-public schools), which states that the health officer or licensed physician has examined the student and believes the age, as stated on the affidavit, is substantially correct. Displaced students shall be permitted to use this form of age verification for a period of thirty (30) days.

 

FHSAA residence and transfer rules are waived one time for the benefit of each displaced student.  That means the student is considered eligible with regards to residence and transfer in the first Florida school that he/she enrolls.  If the student, after enrolling in one Florida school, transfers attendance to another Florida school during the 2019-20 school year, he/she will be subject to the provisions of all rules relating to transfer students.

 

Q: The displaced student began participation in the sport(s) at his/her previous school. Does the student need to meet the provisions of FHSAA Bylaw 9.3.2.2?

A: No, the student is eligible to participate in any fall sport, regardless of prior participation.

 

Q: The displaced student is not living with his/her legal guardian. He/she has been sent to our community to live with relatives or friends. Does this impact his/her eligibility to participate?

A: Possibly. In accordance with FHSAA Policy 37.2.2.7, students participating in interscholastic contests may not reside with a representative of the school’s athletic interests as defined in FHSAA Bylaw 1.4.18. If a displaced student is residing with a representative, and their legal guardian is not in the home, the student may request a waiver through the FHSAA Due Process procedures.

 

Q: Must the displaced student wait until the sixth day of attendance (Bylaw 9.3.3) to participate in an interscholastic contest?

A: No, provided the student has met the heat acclimatization procedures for the sport.

 

Member schools must complete an EL10, “Request for Eligibility Ruling” on Home Campus for each displaced student. In the “Statements of Fact” area, please include an itemized list of information you have collected regarding the student’s eligibility to participate. It is not necessary that you await a response from the FHSAA office before permitting the student to participate.

If you have questions, please contact Craig Damon, Associate Executive Director for Eligibility and Compliance, by email cdamon [at] fhsaa [dot] org or by phone 352-372-9551 ext. 240.


 

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