KINGSLAND, Ga. – Georgia high school athletes are pressing on towards the start of fall sports, even in the face of once-in-a-lifetime circumstances.
This week, as high school football teams in Georgia prepare to put the pads on and head out to the football field, the Georgia High School Association announced that 655 athletes across the state have tested positive for COVID-19 since workouts began back on June 8.
That number jumps out, especially since contact drills didn’t start until this week. But GHSA executive director Robin Hines said in a statement that that total requires perspective.
“Put into context, we currently have over 300,000 eligible students,” Hines said. “Each school has an infectious disease plan to manage each situation. Every district/school has different circumstances which makes local control essential.”
In Camden County, Wildcats head coach Bob Sphire said he thinks the GHSA has done a good job facing unprecedented circumstances and that football can be played safely this season. Sphire said he recently had to deal with some of his players being exposed to COVID-19.
“We had a situation come up. Within 24 hours, we had 44 kids that we thought had any exposure tested. Within three days we had the test results back. All the kids that tested negative were able to come back,” Sphire said.
“Anybody that tested positive had to go through a 10-day waiting period, get reevaluated by the medical professionals before they could return. We are all going to go through that. It is just the nature of how it will be. But for the sake of the kids that are out there working we just have to play on.”
In Georgia, the high school football regular season was pushed back two weeks, with Week 1 games set to Sept. 4.