PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - Summer workouts have returned to Prattville Christian Academy, but things look a little different because of the coronavirus.
However, Panthers first-year strength and conditioning coach Jesse Rowlen is making sure the kids are both staying healthy and staying in shape.
"These kids have prescribed workouts that they've been doing at home, but we're not sure if all of them have been doing it. As coaches, it's our job to make sure we ease these guys back into it," said Rowlen.
"It's different, but we're so thankful, and we're willing to do whatever it takes just to be able to be here," said PCA Athletic Director Tara Osborn.
Prior to entering the weight room, athletes must have their temperature taken. They are also required to wear a mask and maintain six feet of distance.
While this is the new norm for schools across the nation, the Panthers say they're just happy to be back in the gym.
“It’s been awesome. It’s been so exciting to see the kids and see the smiles on their face, and see how willing they are to get back out and work,” said Osborne. “I think [the coronavirus] helped put some things in perspective of what we took for granted before.”
Although the athletes haven’t been able to work out at the school until this week, Rowlen has been pleased with their progress on Day 4.
"They look good - they look really good actually," said Rowlen. "We've done a lot of submaximal and light-weight type things. They're pretty sore, but they're handling it good."
Although the excitement has set in, and the teams are ready to get back to action, Rowlen says the focus of this first week of training is on getting everyone back into a consistent routine.
"As much as we want to go ahead and get things rolling, and we know we have a short amount of time until the season starts, we have to take a lot of precautions. It's up to us as coaches to hold them accountable and get them where they need to be," he said.
In addition to getting the kids back into shape, the staff is doubling down on cleaning duties, often wiping down equipment, and keeping the athletes in small groups. However, with is being week one, there's still some challenges.
"We're just constantly reminding them this is our new normal right now," said Osborn. "They're adapting to it well and accepting it, but we still have to remind every day until they get the hang of it."
The school says it will continue to monitor athletes and hopefully sports can proceed as normal come fall.