Chatham County Schools suspends summer workouts 'until further notice'

Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central affected

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 7/17/20

Effective immediately, Chatham County Schools is suspending summer workouts "until further notice" at Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central.

The Northwood athletic department tweeted the …

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Chatham County Schools suspends summer workouts 'until further notice'

Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central affected

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Posted

After two weeks, Chatham County Schools is suspending summer workouts effective immediately and "until further notice" at Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central.

The move comes a day after the Chatham County Board of Education unanimously passed a motion for county schools to start the 2020-21 year with four weeks of fully remote learning in reaction to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Northwood and Jordan-Matthews athletic department Twitter accounts posted statements with the news Friday afternoon, and CCS spokesperson John McCann confirmed to the News + Record the suspension applies to all three high schools in the district.

"Effective immediately, all summer workouts and athletic activities have been suspended until further notice," the statement read. "Please know that the health and safety of our students and staff is always our primary concern. Be sure to continue following the 3 W’s (Wear a mask, Wait 6 feet apart, and Wash your hands frequently)."

Chatham County's three public high schools had been working out under the NCHSAA's Phase One guidelines since July 6. Football teams worked out at all three schools, and Olympic sports such as cross country and volleyball did, too.

The district delayed workouts until July 6, rather than starting as soon as possible on June 15, as allowed by the NCHSAA, to better prepare coaches and administration on safety measures. It also restricted workouts to fall sports teams only.

Friday's suspension of workouts capped off a week of news on the education front — for the county and the state at large.

In a highly anticipated news conference Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper announced North Carolina's public schools would open next month under his proposed Plan B, a mix of in-person and remote learning. But individual districts could also opt for Plan C, a fully remote option.

On Wednesday, the NCHSAA announced it was delaying the start of all fall sports, including football, until at least Sept. 1., and instituting a dead period for the first five days of school. Official fall sport try-outs and practices were previously scheduled to begin on Aug. 1.

On Thursday, the Board of Education discussed Cooper's announcement in a scheduled meeting, and its five members unanimously passed a motion for the county's public schools to start off with four weeks of Plan C next month. (After those four weeks, the board will re-evaluate a potential move to Plan B.)

Finally, the district suspended workouts Friday in a decision announced a little past 5 p.m. The decision fell in line with those of nearby school districts such as Wake County Schools, Durham County Schools, Alamance-Burlington Schools and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. (HighSchoolOT is keeping a live tracker of workout news in all districts and individual charter/parochial schools.)

Chatham Charter and Woods Charter, the county's other two high schools, do not fall under CCS jurisdiction and aren't affected by the announcement. Chatham Charter has been holding socially distanced for multiple teams since June 15, and Woods Charter started workouts for its cross country team on July 6.

Reporter Chapel Fowler can be reached at cfowler@chathamnr.com or on Twitter at @chapelfowler.

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