Over the summer break, our high school campuses usually stay busy as student athletes and coaches prepare for fall sports.
In the last two weeks, we have participated in statewide conversations about how high school student athletes will “return to play,” and have developed our own plan to begin that process. We are meeting this week and training our athletic directors and coaches to ensure they understand our requirements, which follow recommendations from the Georgia High Schools Association (GHSA) with added input from our community healthcare partners.
Our first phase of “return to play,” beginning June 10, will be limited to on-campus conditioning for fall sports – not active play, camps, or competitions. As required by GHSA, we will use a 20-person cap on how many players and coaches are permitted together at a time in a specific area, such as a weight room or a softball field, with social distancing followed as much as possible. Frequent disinfection of equipment will be required; locker rooms and showers will not be used; restrooms will be designated and disinfected daily; and students will use their own water bottles. In addition to our pre-existing safety plans to keep student athletes hydrated, cool and safe, all participants also will be screened upon arrival by screeners trained by school nurses. We have not yet set a timeline or determined details for our next phase of “return to play.”
If you don’t have a high school athlete in your family, you may be wondering why you received this email. You have received it because I believe in leading with transparency and see “return to play” as part of our overall “return to school” plan.
This week, a committee I’ve appointed made up of CCSD senior and school staff, parents, and community partners held its first meeting. They talked about numerous options for beginning our next school year – in-person, online, and various combinations – and how to make learning in-person a safer option for students, teachers and staff. At the School Board’s May meeting, I set a timeline that I wouldannounce our reopening plan as soon as possible, but not before July 1. I anticipate, based on the state of public health today and initial reports on the Committee’s productive discussions, to announce that plan in as timely a manner as possible in July. This timeline is subject to change, depending on how COVID-19 affects our community over the next month. This timeline is separate from a final decision on our tentatively scheduled in-person graduation ceremonies, which I still plan to announce by July 1. We will continue to keep you informed as we progress through this process.
Thank you for your continued trust, support and patience,
Dr. Brian V. Hightower
Superintendent of Schools