GHSA leaves coronavirus decisions to local schools for now

Georgia High School Association executive director Robin Hines sent letters to member schools Tuesday morning advising them not to overreact to the spread of coronavirus but that the association would support local decisions to cancel or postpone sporting contests.

GHSA sports currently in season are baseball, gymnastics, soccer, lacrosse, golf ,  tennis, slow pitch softball and track and field.

“There is currently no guidance for cancelling mass gatherings other than for individuals at high risk to stay home and for everyone to practice appropriate hygiene (hand washing, etc.) that would normally be practiced during the flu season,” Hines wrote. “We are told [by the CDC] not to overreact and that decisions to postpone games should be local decisions made with appropriate information.”

Fulton County schools were closed Tuesday and sporting events postponed after a district employee tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, the school system said in a release.

Hines said his office sought guidance from the CDC on Monday afternoon. Hines had told a board of trustees meeting on Monday that he wanted local schools and school systems to initiate any schedule changes related to the coronavirus.

“I don’t think the GHSA should be the body telling schools to shut down their activities,” he said. “We will deal with it on a case-by-case basis if some school systems do make decisions like that in the coming days.”

Basketball games in northern CaliforniaRhode IslandNew York and other states have seen postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus.

GHSA schools can be fined for failing to fulfill the conditions of a game contract, but GHSA bylaws allow leeway for emergency situations, which most typically are weather-related. 

Concerns about the coronavirus have resulted in the cancellation of many events and large gatherings. The AJC will monitor these announcements and keep you informed about any postponements, rescheduling and cancellations, but it’s best to check with venues or event organizers before making plans to attend.

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