MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County continues to average roughly 100 COVID-19 cases a day and health leaders have advised against contact sports.
Tuesday afternoon Shelby County Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray announced that contact sports have been postponed.
News spread quickly at Crump Stadium where Bellevue Middle School’s football and basketball players were conditioning for the upcoming season.
“I am very disappointed,” Andre Patton, whose son is a part of the Bellevue Middle School football team, said.
Ray says the high number of COVID-19 cases in the county puts student-athletes at risk. He points to the unknown long-term effects of the virus and the high number of student-athletes in the district without access to health care.
“Our decision to postpone contact sports until further notice is yet another unimaginable consequence of an unprecedented time,” Ray said during a video he released about this year’s fall sports season.
Postponing sports is a tough pill to swallow for some parents because other neighboring school districts have returned to play.
“Those kids are steadily developing. Our kids are sitting at home which is safer for those kids, our kids, but at the same time it does put them at a disadvantage,” Patton said.
Ray does say contact sports could resume once SCS returns to in-person learning.
During the Shelby County Commission meeting Monday, Shelby County Health Director Alisa Haushalter responded to a question about when that might happen.
“I do think we’re going in the right direction for fall and maybe beginning part of the year, there might be an opportunity to reconsider in-class learning,” Haushalter said.
However, all final decisions will be made by Ray and SCS' leadership team.
Bellevue Middle School’s head coach Byron Harris says he would consider the possibility of hitting the gridiron next semester.
“I would be ok with football in January or February or after basketball season and not just football we’re talking about all other sports as well,” Harris said. “Just the longer we prolong it, it makes it kind of tough to explain to our kids.”
Ray says conditioning and independent work-outs can continue.