Chatham County Schools planning to keep workouts and athletic activities suspended through until mid-October

Decision in line with district's nine-week virtual learning start

BY CHAPEL FOWLER, News + Record Staff
Posted 8/19/20

Assuming its current plan to start the 2020-21 school year with nine weeks of online learning remains in place, Chatham County Schools won’t hold any workouts in that timeframe, a spokesperson …

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Chatham County Schools planning to keep workouts and athletic activities suspended through until mid-October

Decision in line with district's nine-week virtual learning start

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Posted

Assuming its current plan to start the 2020-21 school year with nine weeks of online learning remains in place, Chatham County Schools won’t hold any workouts in that timeframe, a spokesperson confirmed.

Under that schedule, member schools Northwood, Jordan-Matthews and Chatham Central will not resume voluntary workouts until mid-October. County public schools started their school year Monday, and the current nine-week period runs through Friday, Oct. 16.

CCS public relations coordinator John McCann told the News + Record on Wednesday night the district’s suspension of workouts and other athletics-related activities, first instituted last month, will stay in place for the time being as schools operate under Plan C.

The Chatham County Board of Education voted unanimously on July 16 to start the school year with four weeks of online learning, and the five-person board again voted unanimously on Aug. 10 to extend the period to the first nine weeks at all elementary, middle and high schools.

The NCHSAA has allowed member schools to work out under Phase One guidelines since June 15 and Phase Two guidelines since Aug. 3. Both sets of guidelines are restrictive, limiting indoor gatherings to 10 total people and outdoor gatherings to 25 total people. No contact is allowed.

The workouts are also voluntary and cannot serve as prerequisite for making a roster, the NCHSAA said.

All summer, though, the NCHSAA has also emphasized individual school districts can hold off on workouts at their discretion. That’s the route CCS has taken — after taking three weeks to gear up, the district held two weeks of workouts from July 6 through 17.

But the district has largely followed the path of the Chatham County Schools Board of Education over the last month. Its July 17 suspension came a day after the board first voted to start with online learning. Earlier this month, district athletic director Chris Blice said that athletics decision was rooted in Chatham County Schools’ education-first focus.

 “In our conversations, it’s a bit difficult to say, ‘OK, we don’t feel that it’s safe to bring kids into school for instruction, but we think it’s fine to bring them in for athletics,’” Blice told the News + Record on Aug 6. “It feels a little contradictory. I think (consistency) is key, because we call our students student-athletes. I think the order of that is really important. I can just say that here in Chatham, we always want athletics to be in line with the school and with academics and those kind of things.”

The same logic is behind the extension of that delay to nine weeks, McCann said.

Under the NCHSAA’s new calendar released last week, the first official practices for any sport won’t start until Nov. 4, when cross country and volleyball teams are allowed to start.

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

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