Shelby County pushes back commencement of contact sports

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One week after Gov. Bill Lee announced an executive order that permits the commencement of contact sports this fall, Shelby County Schools released a statement that indicates sports could be delayed until Labor Day (Sept. 7).
Shelby County Schools released the following statement on Tuesday:
“We share the commitment of Gov. 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 Aug. 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. Shelby County Schools will continue to monitor public health conditions and reconvene discussions after Labor Day.”
The TSSAA requires that football players practice for three weeks in pads before their first game, meaning that the high school football season won’t begin until late September for schools like Germantown High School.
Last week, Lee announced that schools were permitted to begin contact during practice effective immediately.
Executive Order No. 55, first announced last Tuesday, makes contact during practice permissible in the sports of football and girls’ soccer. Other fall sports, including golf, cross country, and volleyball were not affected by the State of Emergency Order that prohibited contact sports.
Although contact practice was deemed permissible, the regulations and requirements for practice and competition adopted by the Board of Control at their July 22 meeting are still in place for all sports and must be followed.
The date of first contest for girls’ soccer was scheduled for Aug. 17, with the state championships to be held Oct. 28-31 in Murfreesboro.
Football teams were allowed to begin heat acclimatization on July 20. Each athlete must complete heat acclimatization (two days of helmets only and three days in helmets and shoulder pads) before practicing in full equipment.
Germantown High School officials indicated that students “will continue to only condition for the forseeable future when SCS will reconvene after Labor Day.”

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