Notes on rules/mechanics/revisions due to COVID-19 from Mark Jones

Notes on Various Questions of Rules/Mechanics/Game Administration
This is a very unique and unusual year. There are many modifications to allow for Covid-19 mitigation in order to make the game as safe as possible for all involved.
Bands and Halftime:
Officials are NOT responsible for monitoring bands. We are only assisting with the timing of halftime.  Due to Covid-19 there are many modifications to assist in mitigation. We don’t want the bands and teams on (entering/exiting) the field at the same time.  Upon arrival to the game site, the Referee should check with game management to find out how many bands will be performing at halftime or pregame.  If both bands perform at halftime, we will not begin the 20 minute clock until the first band has entered the field.  The ECO will stop the clock at the 10 minute mark to allow the second band to enter the field after the first band has exited the field.  Again, it is game managements’ responsibility to monitor the bands, not the officials.  We just assist with the clock. Teams should not enter the field until the band(s) have exited the field.  If only one band (or no bands) to perform at halftime, coaches should be consulted in pre-game to indicate a 15 minute half time and then a 3 minute warm up. Again, this is just another modification to mitigate for the virus.
Wearing Mask:
Officials are not required to wear mask.  However, it is recommended.  A black (or black/white striped) mask is preferred.  However, any mask (within reason and without advertising, writing) may be worn by officials.  It is recommended that we wear mask in pre-game.  Strongly recommended that ECO and chain crew wear mask.  Players may wear mask. Gaiters are mask, but must be worn underneath the helmet.  Officials may also utilize gaiters for their mask.  Gloves may also be worn (prefer black/dark)
Time Outs, Intermissions and Heat Time Outs:
All time outs and intermissions (which includes the time out between any score and kickoff) will be a maximum of two-minutes.  If both teams are ready to play, the time out may be less (unless a TV timeout).  We will have HEAT TIME OUTS after the first dead ball at or under the 6 minute mark of each period.  If we have a team time out, score, change of possession or any other unusual delay under the 6:30 mark, we will take the heat time out at this time.  The reason is to try to avoid having back to back stoppages in play and take the time outs at the best time.  But we will always take it at first dead ball at or under 6 minute mark if we have not been able to take it yet.  Teams may go to sideline anywhere between the 10’s and extend out to near the hash marks to allow for more social distancing and hydration.
New Extra Point Mechanics:
Don’t make this difficult.  If the kick is obviously good (clearly inside each upright), then both officials will signal the kick is good and should be looking at each other already.  If the kick is threatening a particular upright, then that covering official is the only official that should signal.
Team Box and Coaches Box:
Another Covid-19 mitigation rule modification.   The team box (for players, coaches and other team personnel) will extend from 10 yard line to 10 yard line this year.  However, coaches will no longer be allowed to utilize the “restricted area” (two-yard belt between team box and sideline) between downs.
All team personnel must be behind the two-yard belt at all times. Only officials are allowed in the two-yard belt from opening kickoff until the final whistle.
This should be strictly enforced.  Coaches have been made aware of this.  Sportsmanship was also emphasized to coaches and will be strictly enforced.