UPDATE: Sept. 15, 2020
Today, the District announced that fall sports are postponed until further notice. Despite collaborative efforts in the District and locally to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, there is still far too much uncertainty to move forward with athletic practices and competitions at this time. SCS leaders have been working closely with the CDC, Health Department and National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and all of them have warned about the risks of spreading the virus through athletic participation at this time. Local infectious disease specialist Dr. Manoj Jain also recently cautioned that sports are not a wise idea "given the uncertainties around the novel coronavirus and the undiagnosed number of cases in our community." Our decision to postpone fall sports until further notice is yet another unimaginable consequence of an unprecedented time. However, we must lean on the guidance of health EXPERTS and not EMOTIONS. We want to play, our coaches want to coach, and we still hope for the opportunity to do both when conditions improve. Read more in the SCS Newsroom.
UPDATE: Aug. 4, 2020
We share the commitment of Governor Bill Lee and Commissioner Penny Schwinn to prioritize health and safety in our communities. As we announced last week, Shelby County Schools will start the school year fully virtual on August 31 and will continue athletic conditioning without changes.
The alarming daily increases in COVID-19 cases in Memphis and Shelby County create a narrative for our community that is different than many other areas across the state. SCS will continue to monitor public health conditions and reconvene discussions after Labor Day.
UPDATE: July 17, 2020
Middle and high schools that meet the District's readiness requirements were cleared to begin limited team conditioning Monday, July 20. Each school will determine the sports that resume, and coaches will communicate directly with student athletes and families about participation. Of course, all conditioning activities will prioritize the health and safety of our student athletes and coaches. Coaches and athletic staff have participated in required training based on CDC recommendations and guidelines from state and national health officials. Only outdoor workouts are allowed at this time, with a maximum of 50 total people in a single conditioning session. Student athletes will also stay in small groups - or "pods" - of 10 people max at all times. Additional protocols include daily health screenings, social distancing guidelines and required masks for player/coach interactions, among others.
The following video highlights some of the key health and safety procedures that will be in place for all athletic conditioning. You can also find a full list of guiding principles in the June 12 update below.
UPDATE: June 12, 2020
Our Athletics Task Force has been hard at work preparing for a safe return to play this summer, beginning with our high schools. The group has established guiding principles, as well as proposed protocols for each sport, all aligned to CDC recommendations and based on direction from state and national athletic officials. Each high school is now finalizing plans for summer practices and conditioning in preparation to resume activities soon after the state-required dead period of June 22-July 6. Of course, all plans to resume athletics will prioritize the health and safety of our student athletes and coaches. Coaches and athletic staff will be participating in required training based on CDC recommendations and guidelines from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
Guiding Principles & Planning Guidelines to Ensure Player/Coach Health & Safety:
- Ensure all coaches have protocols for practice preparation, processes for safe entry/exit and proper procedures for workouts/activities
- Limit practices to essential personnel only
- Prepare appropriate action plans for identified high-risk student athletes
- Conduct daily health screenings
- Adhere to social distancing of 6 feet minimum at all times
- Create staggered schedules using player "pods," which are smaller groups (10 or less) to ensure safe social distancing
- No more than 50 individuals allowed outdoors at the same time
- Allow a minimum of 15 minutes between each scheduled pod to clean restrooms, facilities, equipment and frequently touched objects
- Eliminate use of communal/shared equipment and other items
- Required handwashing/sanitizing before starting any workout/practice session
- Requiring cloth facemasks for all interactions of athletic staff and student athletes
- Limit restroom use to one person at a time
- Prohibiting celebrations involving physical contact (high-fives, hugs, etc.)
UPDATE: May 15, 2020
We understand student athletes and families are wondering about summer workouts and events, as well as the start of the fall sports season. The District's Re-Entry Task Force is working to establish guidelines for safely resuming all school activities, including options leading to a safe return to athletic participation for our students. Additionally, the SCS Athletics Department has formed a task force that will monitor state/national athletic association guidelines and coordinate with athletic directors across Tennessee. Based on the advice of health experts, it's possible some sports may resume before others; however, there is no clear timeframe yet. Health and safety will continue to be our top priority in every decision, and we will keep students and families informed of any new developments.