“Athletics, activities, and clubs will be moving to the virtual environment,” Dude said in his message. “We will be working with coaches and activity sponsors to brainstorm ways to continue building teams and communities through online activities. We are well aware of the mental health benefits of such interactions, especially when they can be done in person, and do not make this decision lightly.”
Dude’s comments also were critical of government officials.
“It is unfortunate, but we are unable to consistently rely on data and recommendations we receive from government institutions charged with public health because those data and recommendations are being heavily influenced by politics rather than science,” Dude said. “We will continue doing our best to distill the often conflicting information provided to us while we attempt to balance the risks of continuing virtually with the risks of meeting in person.”
Decatur is the third GHSA school to cancel games over COVID-19 concerns. Riverside Military in May and Twiggs County in July canceled their entire seasons.
Several schools, including Tucker and Lakeside in DeKalb County, have suspended and restarted sports practices since the GHSA allowed teams to begin sports conditioning in June, and at least a dozen remain closed this week, the first time that football teams have been allowed to practice in pads.
The Georgia High School Association moved the start of the football regular season back to the week of Sept. 4 last month.
More changes could come soon as the GHSA’s sports-medicine advisory council has its weekly meeting Wednesday. On Friday, Georgia Department of Public Health commissioner Dr. Kathleen Toomey expressed concern to the state’s schools superintendents over the safety of football, chorus, band and competitive cheerleading this fall.
Decatur will re-evaluate its policy on extra-curricular activities Sept. 18, the newsletter said.