Class A Blog: Teams most impacted by COVID-19

The Georgia High Schools Association has officially declared that teams may start off-season conditioning workouts on Monday, June 8, as reported by Todd Holcomb here.

As outlined in Holcomb’s report, here are the special conditions under which teams may conduct workouts as the state, nation and world continue to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19):

  • Schools/school systems may be more restrictive than the GHSA but not less. 
  • Workouts are conditioning only, no balls or sport specific equipment. 
  • Member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning.
  • It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout.
  • Signage should be posted on site with the following:
    • Do you or have you had a fever in the last week?
    • Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?
    • Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19?
    • Have you traveled to a “hot spot” for COVID-19?
  • Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus/facility. 
  • Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Student or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance. 
  • No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home. 
  • Weight equipment should be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student. 
  • Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and readily available. 
  • Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains or “water cows” is allowed. 
  • Side spots only in weight training, safety bars are preferred. 
  • Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended for the weight room. 
  • At least 15 minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility. 
  • There is no competition allowed between schools. 
  • No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions.

With teams in both highly-populated areas and in rural areas, Class A is impacted as much or more than any other classification. We will take a look at a few of the most impacted regions and teams. Today: Region 1 Public.

Region 1 Public

*Populated by schools in southwest Georgia, seven of the region’s nine schools are located in an area that has the state’s highest numbers in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and confirmed deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 residents. (Statistics courtesy of the Georgia Department of Public Health daily status report.)

Baconton Charter (Mitchell County: Population - 22,056; Cases - 399; Deaths - 32; Cases per 100K residents - 1,809; Deaths per 100K residents – 145.1)
The Blazers are coming off of their best season in the 11-year history of the program, finishing 4-6. They return second-team all-region performers seniors Zavian Freeman (RB/LB) and Turner Van Meter (OL/DL).

Calhoun County (Population – 6,317; Cases - 126; Deaths - 5; Cases per 100K residents - 1,995; Deaths per 100K residents – 79.2)
The Cougars were 2-8 last season and have not had a winning season since 2014 (8-4), the last time they made the state playoffs. They also have not had back-to-back winning seasons since a four-season stretch from 1990-1993.

Mitchell County. The Eagles are the defending region champs, coming off a season in which they scored (564) and averaged (47/game) the most points in program history. 

Pelham (Mitchell County). The Hornets have become one of the classification’s top teams under the leadership of head coach Dondrail Pinkins, who is entering his sixth season. Pelham is coming off its second consecutive trip to the state semifinals.

Randolph-Clay (Clay County: Population – 2,855; Cases - 35; Deaths - 2; Cases per 100K residents - 1,226; Deaths per 100K residents – 70; Randolph County: Population – 6,754; Cases – 170; Deaths – 19; Cases per 100K residents – 2,517; Deaths per 100K residents – 281.3)
The Red Devils are coming off of their second consecutive winless season (0-20).

Terrell County (Population – 8,467; Cases - 211; Deaths - 26; Cases per 100K residents – 2,492; Deaths per 100K residents – 307.1)
The Greenwaves are entering their second season under the leadership of head coach Jack Harris, following the 20-year reign of Vincent Huff (81-123). Terrell County went 7-4 last season under Harris, whose last tenure as a head coach was seven seasons at Southland Academy, a school in Americus that competes in the largest classification (AAA) of the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA). 

Pataula Charter (Calhoun County). 
The Panthers will compete against a non-region schedule again, just as they have done since they program’s first season in 2016.

*Miller County (Population – 5,764; Cases - 38; Deaths - 0; Cases per 100K residents - 659; Deaths per 100K residents – 0) and Seminole County (Population – 8,140; Cases - 42; Deaths - 2; Cases per 100K residents - 516; Deaths per 100K residents – 24.6) also compete in Region 1, but their COVID-19 cases and deaths to not rise to the levels of the others. 

Next Up: Region 2 Private

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