By Natalie Brevick and Sudha Gururaj
Due to the novel coronavirus, the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) has made some crucial changes this fall’s high school sports seasons. GHSA, which is in charge of overseeing all changes and details having to do with Georgia high school sports, has been working to ensure that high school athletes in the state can come back to the field and be safe while dealing with the pandemic.
On July 20, the GHSA issued the first update announcing that football would be postponed for two weeks with scrimmages starting Aug. 28 and regular-season games beginning Sept. 4. In the same announcement, GHSA said that only 15 players will be allowed in a locker room at a time and the number of spectators will be cut to 30 percent of any venue’s full capacity.
The Cobb County School District mandated that on transportation, like a bus, there will be one athlete or coach per seat with a required mask worn at all times while on the vehicle. Schools must establish protocols for their own facilities.
“Once a week we are fogging the weight room, the gym, locker rooms, all those kinds of areas,” said Campbell High School Athletic Director Dr. Jeff Hutson. “So that’s how we’re handling the sanitation part.”
Besides the mandated fogging, the onus will be on coaches and players to be responsible for social distancing and making sure the players are as safe as possible.
“The stipulations from the state, from the GHSA, just say that it’s 15 kids in the locker room at one time,” Hutson said when asked specifically about social distancing in the locker room. “So that’s on the coaches to kind of make sure that you’re staggering use of the locker room.”
On Aug. 5, the GHSA met again and decided to cancel all football scrimmages while keeping Sept. 4 as the regular season opening date. The Campbell Spartans football team originally had a scrimmage planned against South Cobb for Aug. 28, which will not happen. Cheer season will also be moved. Practices will start on Nov. 2 and competitions will start on Nov. 21. The team will have its final cheer competition on Feb. 26-27. Sports like cross country have been allowed to continue because they are considered low risk. Meets will be starting Aug. 29.
With high school sports on the verge of returning, there are still a lot of questions, and things are changing day to day.
“If an outbreak occurs, one of the trains of thought is to move the fall season to the spring,” said Dr. Hutson. “Safety is the priority in these unprecedented times.”
With the changes made to the high school sports season, GHSA leaders are hoping players will be able to be kept safe. Sports are currently still planning to have their scheduled seasons without any further interruptions.
Natalie Brevick and Sudha Gururaj are students at Campbell High School and aspiring sports reporters.