CAIRO HIGH SCHOOL athletic director Tom Fallaw discusses the school system’s infectious disease guidance and athletic program procedures with the Grady County Board of Education. Cairo High School principal, Chris Lokey, left, listens.
Cairo High School athletic director Tom Fallaw presented the system’s infectious disease guidance and athletic program procedures to the Grady County Board of Education Tuesday night for its review and for now the Syrupmakers are set to kick off the 2020 football season on Sept. 4.
The plan details how student athletes are to be screened daily and how those with COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis will be handled.
Hydration of student athletes is also outlined as well as other issues including social distancing, when feasible, and the wearing of masks.
The plan states that use of masks is mandatory for both players and coaches when traveling by bus for out-of-town trips.
Something else new is a provision for players to be transported by their parents or guardians to and from sporting events, where in the past athletes were required to travel by school system transportation.
The plan presented by A.D. Fallaw on Tuesday had been reviewed earlier in the day with District Health director Dr. Charles Ruiz and Grady County Health Department nurse manager Michelle Thornton.
“We are not ready to discuss events tonight,” Fallaw said. Decisions on rescheduling or canceling fall sports continues to be “kicked down the road” Fallaw said.
Fallaw said he had also not finalized a recommendation on how to handle large crowds at sporting events such as a football game.
Fallaw said from what officials are being told by medical professionals and others, who do not wish to go on the record, it is not recommended to play football and have large crowds in a stadium at this time.
“It’s not only football, but it’s band, it’s cheerleaders that will be traveling and we have a limited number of buses. There is a lot of information out there that has to be processed,” board member John White said.
Fallaw said his concentration is only on athletics. Board member Gerald Goosby said all we can do is hope numbers of new cases locally begin to decrease.
“It’s not just our numbers, but the communities were we are going to play,” Fallaw noted.
He said he was an “old football coach” and his natural instinct is to want to play football this fall, but he noted his new job is athletic director and he had to consider the entire athletic program.
Board member White said the football team had to have opponents willing to play in order to have games this fall.
Grady County school superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard said as the September 4 tentative start of the football season approaches, he would be making a recommendation in the best interest of student athletes and the local community.
“None of us are for canceling football. It’s football that provides the funding for our entire athletic program,” Fallaw said. The C.H.S. athletic director also predicted the community would not like what will likely be the rules if the season is not rescheduled or is canceled.
Fallaw said that his brain “hurts” from thinking about hypothetical situations. “I’m tired of thinking about it because it is almost impossible to be able to safely play football at this time,” Fallaw said.
“I guess in two-and-a-half weeks we will have to make a real decision,” board membr White commented.